Fence Post of Faith May-2016

 

This spring has been a sad one for me, an old friend from Missouri who raised a lot of horse passed away. On my last visit with him he told me I was a good neighbor. After hearing he had passed I sat down and begin to put together a writing about him. And I wanted to share it this month.  A scripture came to mind from James 2:8 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.” So with his passing, I began to think about how fortunate we are to know what being a neighbor really means.

 Elmo Tuley, one of our neighbors who lived just a few miles or so down the road where I grew up passed away at the age of 97. His passing helped me to recall many fond and funny things as a neighbor over the years.

 

Elmo and Vivian Tuley were the best of neighbors’ growing up they were at horse every show, ever

Saddle club dance, they were at me and my sister’s graduations, and was at our weddings. We considered

them family. Even Vivian’s mom and dad were known as grandpa and grandpa Meyers. Vivian Passed in

 2009 and I think a piece of Elmo passed with her. They were just always there.

   

Maybe that’s what a good neighbor does. They show up. They show their support and solidarity with their neighbors by showing up. They attend family weddings, anniversaries, the birth of a new neighbor and family funerals. They show up for all of the big events in the lives of their neighbors. They bring food, fellowship and prayers. They are present for each other. They don’t give excuses about being too busy with their own lives and work. They just show up.

Is being a good neighbor a lost art? I don’t think so, I just stopped 2 months ago and Elmo could barely set up, he told me that I was a good neighbor growing up. On that visit we talked about a lot of things, I asked Elmo why Mike always called him Pop, he smiled and said he always has. I said Elmo you always ask whenever we visited if we wanted a Pepsi and he said it was just the drink of the times. We laugh about the time we were headed to their house to eat breakfast after a Tolona Dance and he got sick on the back road and when we got to their house Vivian ask where his teeth were and so we went back to look for them and Elmo remembered he had put them in his pocket. Or the time me and two others guys were helping  put up round bales and Elmo was driving the tractor and he didn’t notice he had lost us and the load of hay till he got to the house.  It’s funny the things we remember, the good time were far more than the bad times.  I have found that neighborliness hasn’t gone out of style.

That’s good because neighbors are part of the reason living on a farm was so great for me growing up. I hope and pray that my girls and their families learn that neighbors are an intricate part of rural life and the main virtue for being a good neighbor is to show up and be present for the folks you care most about.

I’ve been on the receiving end many times of compassion and assistance from good neighbors who live near us. They have probably been more helpful to me over the years than I have ever been able to return the favor. The fact is that we are very reliant, not only on our own abilities, but also on the generosity and caring nature of our families, friends and our neighbors. Thank you Elmo for those memories. Jeff