Look up the word “neighborly,”
and you’ll come up with the expected:
helpful and kind,
friendly, amiable, sociable …
In other words, a neighbor is generally thought of as someone you can count on to lend a hand when the going gets tough.
And the beauty of neighborliness is that it goes both ways,
back and forth across fences,
without demand for reciprocation.
It’s there should you need it.
Among rural Americans, “neighborly” is communicated through often subtle signals …
a wave between passing cars,
a fresh batch of Christmas cookies left on a doorstep,
a call after a storm, just to make sure everything’s alright.
Loving thy neighbor, as the saying goes, is a timeless credo among farm folks—one that keeps us civil, makes us strong, and sheds a ray of light in even the darkest hour.
I much prefer it to the phrase,
Good fences make good neighbors.
But lately, fences are being fortified as suspicion spreads throughout America’s farm country, spurred by a handful of troublemakers who are taking advantage of the trust that farmsteaders live by …