With extra time at home now, this pandemic offers a perfect opportunity to check on a neighbor friend and drop off a clean and wholesome gift.  

I TP'd my neighbor Chuck's house yesterday.

He lives a few streets over, and I've known him for about three years.  Chuck is 70 and has a golf cart that he takes tooling around the neighborhood when the weather is nice, and sometimes he pulls up in my driveway and beeps the horn and asks if I want to go for a ride.  Why not.  If you've got a neighbor that wants to take a ride on a golf cart at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on a Tuesday for no particular reason, you drop what you're doing and hop on.

Chuck and I met in 2017 at the indoor pool at the neighborhood gym.  We always seemed to show up to swim at the same time and struck up a conversation, and eventually figured out we lived two blocks apart.  From there, we talked about family, our favorite restaurants, church, taxes, football, and even my semi-pathetic dating life.  Chuck quickly became a friend.  I would tread water for an hour in the pool each day, and we'd talk while he did light movements standing in place.  Chuck has Parkinson's.

I have such a huge place in my heart for Chuck.  He's one of those people that always has a sideways grin on his face and brightens up the room every time he walks in.  He's one of the good ones.  One time he told me, "You know, I sure do love swimming with you."  Likewise, my friend.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media
Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

Since the gym closed, I haven't seen much of Chuck, so I decided to take him a little gift to let him know I was thinking about him.  Chuck and his wife love wine, and Lord knows toilet paper is gold, so my girls and I walked over and put that little trophy on his doorstep yesterday.  Social distancing is extra-important for people like Chuck, so there was no need for us to interact.  He doesn't need to be comin' outside.  At all.

After I left the wine and TP, I texted to let him know it was there.  He replied, "Thank you very much.  That was really sweet.  We can use both items."  And twelve minutes later he sent another text to let me know that he and his wife had cracked open the wine and had started their happy hour.

There's a lot we can't do right now, but walking the neighborhood and dropping off a gift that has been wiped down with Lysol wipes is one thing we can do.

Social distancing sure does make me miss my friends!  Neighbors need to be checked on -- we've just got to find different ways to do it now.  And toilet paper is helpful in so many ways.

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