altWhen we relocated to our farm several years ago, we were welcomed by most of the neighbors in the area. There was one neighbor, however, who was disgruntled over the survey. He didn’t agree with the surveyed boundaries that had been set before we closed on the property. He went so far as to yank up the stakes that had been set by a professional surveying company and proceeded to tell my husband the ACTUAL property line was a large rock.

The discrepancy in the professional survey and this guy’s rock was minimal, but he made a very large stink about all of it. When my husband started building fence on the surveyed property line, this neighbor became very angry with us. Unfortunately, it ended with a couple of attorneys bickering back and forth on our behalves. We finally settled with him on an easement just to keep the peace. Since then, he’s been a peaceful fellow.

Over the years of living in the country, I have watched my husband go out of his way to be the kind of neighbor he would’ve liked to have been greeted by when we moved up onto the mountain.

Recently, a home and acreage sold to a family moving here from Mississippi. We were delighted to meet them. Our kids were thrilled because they have a 10-year-old son. In the process of their relocation, my husband and son have mowed their yard to help them out as they travel back and forth before they move here permanently. We have really enjoyed getting to know this new family.

On a recent Saturday morning, my husband was up at the crack of dawn to go have breakfast at a local café with another neighbor. They were going to carb load a plate of biscuits and gravy and head to the local farm store to stock up on fencing supplies. They had big plans to finish a fence building project together on the neighbor’s property. I’m sure when they finished that project, they moved on to one at our place.

The neighbor’s behind us have a pool and have graciously invited several of us and our piles of children to swim on hot days. There have been a LOT of hot days this July. We are so thankful for all the kids surrounding us and the great parents we enjoy friendships with.

I’ve never seen my husband shy away from helping neighbors move dirt, clean up tree canopies or running cows back in the right pasture. We have been blessed with the same kindness in return and more.

Recently, I had to call in a favor from a neighbor to check in some trucks that arrived at our office later in the day after we’d closed. Even though I was out of town, he dropped what he was doing and came to my rescue to help some of our customers when no one else could be reached.

They say good fences make good neighbors. Maybe that saying is true in some cases. However, we’ve found southern hospitality and basic human kindness makes the best neighbor. In a world that portrays a lot of hateful talk and unkind behavior, look closer. Whether you live in town or in the country, get out and talk to the parents and children who live near you. Ride up and drop off a plate of cookies to someone new to your area. I’m so proud of my husband for being a good friend. We are blessed with have a lot of great neighbors.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to and click on ‘Contact Us.’


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