"Getting Along With People"
by Charles Martin, Literacy Volunteers of America
moved into my home in 1968. I met a man who was a good neighbor to me. Mr. Gibson was 79 years old but he was so good to me. The lines in his face looked like a road map. For he was like a dad to me. He had lines in his face, but his heart was as good as gold.
We had a garden together. He was 79, but he would be at the other end before I could get there. I would be wringing with sweat and he had not even broken one. One day I went to his house and I saw some boxes of nuts and bolts. I asked him, "What are you going to do with all these nuts and bolts?" He told me, "Keep every one you find, because you will find a use for it within seven years."
If I could recall all the sorrow and bring back a laugh or two, I wish
I could erase
the lines from his face and put the color back in his hair.
For he is gone you see, but
I hope to meet him again in heaven one day.
And I'll kiss my dear mother, hug my dad
and brother, and shake hands
with my good old friend again.
ne summer day, my older sister and I were taking the children to see their great-grandmother. She lived about 30 miles from us so we took a short cut to her house down a back road. I noticed this child walking down the road who looked like he might have been about three years old.
I told my sister, "Look at that child walking down the road by himself. There's a little dog following him. What should we do?"
"I don't know, but we can't let him stay here by himself."
We stopped the car and asked the boy his name and where he lived. He did not respond.
What was he doing out there all alone? All sorts of things crossed my mind. I wondered where he came from . Did someone just drop him off? Was he abused? If we take him with us, would people think we had done something to him if he had been abused? We wondered if the dog would bite us, but we decided to take him with us anyway. We could not leave him out there all alone. The dog followed us to the car door, but he did not bother us. The child was not crying. He did not seem like was hurt in any way.
First we drove back down the road to see if we could find the entrance he had come out of. There was no house in sight so we took the child on to our grandmother's house. She met us at the door.
The first thing she wanted to know was, "Where did you get that little white boy from?"
The children ran to her and said, "We found him on the road." The little boy seemed like he was not afraid at all. He just wanted to play with the kids. His Pamper was smelly so we had to find something to change him with. We didn't have any Pampers so we put a tea towel on him.
We called the police department and told them who we were and that we had found this little boy on the road. They asked where we were located and the license number on the car. We gave them all the information. They said they would send someone right out. About 45 minutes to an hour later, two officers arrived. They wanted to know where the boy was picked up and where the clothes were that he had on. We told them he only had on a T-shirt and a Pamper. Then they asked the little boy the same questions that we had asked him. He didn't respond to them either. They took the child, the T-shirt and then got the Pamper out of the trash. I asked them what they were going to do with the dirty Pamper. They told me they needed it as evidence. One of them said he thought he knew who the child belonged to. They thanked us and we asked them if they would let us know where the child had come from. They agreed.
Later that evening, they called and told us they found out who the child belonged to. An older sister and brother were supposed to be watching him, but they were inside watching TV. The parents were at work. They lived way off the road and the child had wandered from the house. The children didn't even know the child was gone until the police called. They thought he was out in the yard playing and that was the last we heard from the police.
This happened in 1977. Here you have two black women with a little white boy. I feel that if this child had been hurt in any way, we would have been accused. It would have been our word against anyone who had done something to him. In my mind, we really did not have a choice. It was something we had to do. Here it is twenty years later and the world hasn't changed much since then, but if we had to do it over again, we would.
ometimes we fail to realize the importance of getting along with people. The person you don't get along with, could be the one you have to ask for help one day. This would be a sad world if you couldn't get along with anyone.
Everybody has shortcomings, nobody's perfect. But if you put your best foot forward, then the other person will try to get along with you. This isn't true in all cases, because some people just don't want to get along.
Getting along is important for lots of reasons. The most important reason to me is, because Jesus said to "love thy neighbor as thyself." Your neighbor is everyone. Before I got saved I thought neighbor was the person next door. But in the Bible it means everybody. That is reason enough for me.
If you become a good neighbor they will let you borrow things like tools, money,newspapers. They will let you watch their house for them when they go on vacation and give you an animal or lend you a helping hand when you are in need.
Well, first you introduce yourself. Then, she introduces herself. After that you get to know each other better. AFter that you talk for a while to see what y'all have in common, after that you get to borrow hairdryers, batteries, hairbrushes, makeup, money to pay bills or for other things you don't have money for. Then y'all, do other stuff together like go places together.
Go shopping together, mail, out for a neighbor's son's birthday party. Then you order food and cake for the neighbors birthday party. Every day they get together for cards. Everybody talks, has cookouts together, and does fun stuff.
That's what I find about getting along with neighbors.
hen I was 10 years old I went to stay with my father's cousin for about two years. Then I came back home. I did not stay at home long because I wanted to work. I liked to work better than going to school. When I was 13 or 14 years old I stayed the McMullen family and worked on their farm for fifty cents an hour. Sometimes I worked for his brother; he owned a store. I pumped gas and checked oil for seven dollars for two days. I did this until I turned 15 years old. Then I moved to Charlottesville with my mother. I went back to school and got a job at the Gaslight. I worked there for a couple of years.
I have always enjoyed helping people so I ended up going back to my father's cousin and staying there helping them out because they lived alone and needed someone to help them. I have family in Stanardsville that I see. I keep my cousin's grass cut and help the elderly people with their firewood and keep their grass cut also.
I always give people rides whenever they need one. I enjoy helping the elderly. When my mother and father got sick I took care of both of them, and not at the same time, until they both passed. I feel like God has put me here to help people, and as long as I can I will continue to help the people around me. I hope that some day when or if I need help there will be someone around like me to help me. I gives me great pleasure to help others. Most of the time there is no money involved, just the good feeling that I did my good deed for the day.
Good neighbors are people we trust our kids and property with. Good neighbors watch out for each other and help when someone needs it. Having monthly meetings, neighborhood watch programs or just a get-together can help one to become a good neighbor.
The not so good neighbor can make it bad for everybody. They think because its their land, they don't have to obey the rules. For example, letting the pets run loose. Dogs can destroy property as much as people. Pets should be kept under control by putting them in lots or on a leash.
Knowing your rights and your neighbor's rights and understanding the rules will make you a better neighbor.