The Richmond Register

January 21, 2014

Neighbor is more than someone who lives near by

By Carol Prewitt
Register Columnist

MADISON COUNTY —

According to Webster, the definition of neighbor is “next to or near another.” But there is much more to it than that.

You’ll find that in hard times a neighbor is any one in your community that stands beside you, doing whatever is needed to pull you through, get you going in the right direction again.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “the purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, compassionate, make a difference. The Bible tells us to fill both the physical and spiritual needs of others.

In the olden days, if a man was down from sickness or injury, other men in the area stepped in to bring in the crops, feed the stock, set his tobacco for him. If you needed a new barn, they were there again, knowing that if they were ever in that same position, the same would be done for them.

The women made meals to share if you were not able. They might do your laundry for you, mind the children, help with a new baby, clean house for you. They always cooked food for anyone helping with the hard work. If the garden provided a lot that year, there was that much more to share.

Back in the 1930s, 18-month-old Henrietta Lackey fell from a stool and was severely injured. For many weeks Frank and Francis Long sat with the child around the clock so the parents could try to get some rest and be able to tend to others of the family.

Jim Lackey had a massive stroke. He still had two young girls at home. The family said if it were not for the kindness of neighbors, they don’t know how they would have made it through those dark days.

Burt Prewitt had a heart attack. Thanks to Burton Collins, Ed Collins and others, his tobacco was set on time.

It doesn’t always take a lot of time to make a difference. Just carry someone’s groceries in for them, or be a listener to a lonely person.

Ask if they’re all right. And don’t expect rewards or praise in return. Some don’t know how to express their thanks.

Just put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment. Think about what it would be like for that person if you didn't offer help.

I usually write just about the old times, and this covers that time in history, but I'm happy to say those same feelings of caring for your neighbor can still be found today. Help spread the word that we still care.