And now the winners … FAN’s Great Neighbors Contest

By Friends & Neighbors September 15, 2013 01:00

Audrey Tate’s neighbors do everything together, joining for potlucks, garage sales and helping each other when times are tough. Mary Straws’ neighbors were there to help her through husband Seth’s illness and then to comfort her in the difficult aftermath of his death.

Terri and Joe Henderson found a terrific neighbor in Suzanne Praisler. “The best neighbor ever” is how Shirley Singley describes Sandy Johnson. All are entrants in Friends and Neighbor’s Great Neighbors Contest, announced in our Winter 2012-’13 issue.

Who won? Too close to call, we decided. Each exemplifies the qualities we all look for in our own neighbors – the qualities that make the Mother Lode such a supportive and community-oriented place to live. Each group won an apple pie and custom-designed FAN Great Neighbors coffee mugs.  

And now, a look at our contest winners:

DSC_3097Nurtured by friends

By Mary Straws

My husband Seth and I first met Bev Fernandez while walking our dogs in our friendly Columbia Townhouse neighborhood. Before long we arranged to walk at the same time, and our friendship grew.

So when Seth became ill, Bev and her husband, Bob, were there for us. We both have daughters who live in Pacifica, so when Seth’s illness became worse and he was taken by ambulance to San Francisco, Bev and Bob were ready to take me down. And after my husband’s 19-day hospital stay in the Bay Area, they brought me back home.

Diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, Seth did not live much longer. And through it all, my friends Bev and Bob have been right here – watching out for me, feeding me often and playing Scrabble with me several times a week.

Their nurturing, caring friendship has helped me so much in this past year.

Safe and at ease

By Terri Henderson

Over the last 25 years my husband, Joe, and I have been blessed with great neighbors in a number of locations. Even though we have moved, those friendships will last through our lifetimes. We recently returned to Tuolumne County and were again blessed with not only renting an affordable home we love, but one next to neighbors we already knew were great!

Suzanne Praisler and her dog, Minnie, are not only great neighbors, but Suzanne is the greatest landlord anyone could ask for. It was tough losing our home in Oregon to foreclosure, but Suzanne and Minnie made the transition so much easier on us.

In the midst of dealing with her own loss, Suzanne continued to check on us and make sure we were doing OK. Minnie comes to visit our dog, Miss Lucy, every morning before work and again in the evening after work.

Suzanne continues to volunteer her time in the community, even making sure Santa didn’t forget to stop at the local women’s shelter on Christmas morning. I feel safe and at ease in my little neighborhood. Suzanne has blessed me with a wonderful place to view the stars each night, and again, with the benefits of having a great neighbor.

Never fear, Sandy’s Here

By Shirley Singley

Sandy Johnson is the best neighbor ever. She has a beautiful personality full of love and caring, not to mention a great sense of humor.

I don’t know what Mill Villa Estates would do without her. She is treasurer of the homeowners association, our Sunshine Gal, a kitchen crew gal and our game of bridge gal. I could go on and on.

As Sunshine Gal she sends cards and condolences to the people who are ill or grieving. As our kitchen crew, Dorothy Grundmeier and Sandy are instrumental in putting together almost every monthly dinner party. Each Monday, Sandy and Pres Hatt see that we have at least four tables of bridge players. Sandy also makes coffee, keeps the records and cleans up. For the last three years Sandy has made sure the park’s Christmas tree is up and beautifully decorated.

“Never fear, Sandy’s here!” is the oft-repeated refrain from Tom Daniel, president of the homeowners association. “If something needs to be taken care of, we can always depend on Sandy,” he says.

She often takes neighbors to a doctor or the hospital. Sandy not only took me to the emergency room when I needed help, but she stayed with me the entire time and then took me home.

What’s more, Sandy does all of her good turns with a great sense of humor. That she keeps her friends laughing while helping is a bonus you can’t put a price on.

DSC_3236 robinwood lane neighbors  (3)_1A wonderful ’hood

By Audrey Tate

I scarcely know where to begin singing the praises of my neighbors on Robinwood Lane. We have a close-knit group on a cul-de-sac, and most of us are “original settlers” from when this little Jamestown-area subdivision was started in 1994. There is not one person among us who would refuse to help if asked, and often the neighbors just volunteer.

When a windstorm cracked a tree branch and left it hanging, my neighbor Brian removed it. When one lady fell while out walking, the first one to her aid was her own neighbor.

Once I needed a latch on my gate, and to avoid a trip to town went instead to my neighbor Terry, a great handyman. He was working in his garage, but immediately stopped what he was doing, dumped out two five-gallon buckets of nuts and bolts, rummaged around and found a latch I could use. When I thanked him he said, “Anytime, Audrey” – his standard reply – and meant it.

We have neighborhood garage sales, potlucks and lunch-with-the-girls days. We share veggies from our summer gardens. We swap recipes and share the occasional I-fixed-too-much dish.

We have a loosely organized but effective watch program, and when anyone is away, we make sure their mail is picked up and their pets fed.

Ours is a wonderful ’hood!

Copyright © 2013 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

By Friends & Neighbors September 15, 2013 01:00
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