In 2012, I participated in a local writing contest, held by Good News Toronto, called the True Story Contest. The challenge was to write about A Good Neighbour in 450 words or less.
I wrote about an unknown neighbour of mine who watered (and saved) my toddler’s bean plant this summer and about my parents’ neighbour, Colette, who does the same for my father’s tomato plants. My piece won second place in the contest and was published online this month.
An excerpt from Sunborrowers and Watering Cans:
Armed with a watering can, Colette makes her way across her neighbours’ lawn and down a small hill to the vegetable patch. She carefully removes the mesh wire fence, which ineffectively keeps rabbits out, and steps in to water the thirsty plants and their cherry-red fruit. Once that job is done, she fills the watering can with the bite-sized tomatoes, ensuring none goes to waste. There are always more when my parents return, as long as Colette waters them.
Later, Colette drags a lawn chair onto my parents’ property for a well-deserved rest. Papa jokes that it’s only fair: in the afternoon, Colette’s place is in shadow, “so we let her borrow our sun!” A little water for a little sun; it’s a pleasant, reciprocal relationship.
Colette blushed when I read her the story, right before it was published online. I could tell she was surprised, yet pleased, about her role in this story. Now, my task is to figure out which of my 600+ neighbours helped along our ‘garden’ this summer and offer my thanks in person.