By John Pierce

Good neighbors are usually taken for granted until you have a bad one. Fortunately, I’ve had a lot more of the former than the latter.

Whether living in a suburban Atlanta neighborhood in constant transition or a quieter place where people settle down to stay awhile, I am grateful for those good neighbors who were/are kind, helpful and give away Almond Joys on Halloween.

From my early childhood remembrances until I went off to college the Medleys were our “across the road” neighbors. Our side-by-side mailboxes retained the same names for more than four decades until my parents died a few years back.

Today I got word that Mrs. Clois Medley had died. So I’ve been thinking about her and the qualities of a good neighbor.

Typically, good neighbors will get your mail and feed your dog when you are out of town. They will keep an eye out for suspicious activity and forgive you if some content of your trashcan blows into their yard.

They’ll lend a helping hand if a limb falls on your house, your car’s battery needs a boost or you need someone to hold the other end of the tape measure. The abundance of summer gardens crosses property lines with ease.

The Medleys did all of that and more. I borrowed about every lettered volume of the World Book Encyclopedia many times for school reports. And once Mrs. Medley even administered some snuff juice to relieve the pain of a wasp sting.

She took me to Vacation Bible School at Scott Memorial Church of God, just over the state line into Tennessee. Apparently the nearly 20 hours I spent each week in the programs and services at Boynton Baptist Church in Ringgold, Ga., weren’t enough that year.

Her generosity was experienced by our family and other neighbors, as well as the people she encountered elsewhere. So today I remember with great fondness Mrs. Medley, who died on Tuesday at age 95.

Also, I recommit myself to being more neighborly to those who live along our nice little street in North Macon — and pray that a good person or family will take up residence soon in the available house next door: preferably someone who bakes often, well and too much.

But I especially pray for Earl, Roy and Kay and all of the Medley family as they say good-bye to a loving woman who was a wonderful neighbor. Her life touched mine for good.

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