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Never send the NEIGHBOR’s dish back empty. #fmfparty

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Never send the NEIGHBOR’s dish back empty. #fmfparty

I’m joining in on the #fmfparty (Five Minute Friday). This is a writer’s link up hosted by Kate Motaung. Each Friday, she offers a single word writing prompt. The participants have five minutes to free write whatever comes to mind using that one word as their prompt. No overthinking, no editing. However, being the rebel that I am, I will likely edit for spelling and blatant bad grammar.

I hope whatever I write makes some sort of sense and I’m not totally embarrassing myself. This will be a good way for me to get some words out and keep the writing juices flowing. It will also help me connect with other writers who long to become better writers and are willing to be vulnerable with their craft.

Today’s prompt is NEIGHBOR.

My five minutes starts now. Ready. Set. Go.


I’ve moved a lot. If I’ve not miscounted, I’ve moved fifteen times in my 50 years and three of those have been international moves. I’ve had neighbors of all sorts. Some neighbors have been pleasant but sometimes we’ve had to go a bit further down the street to find a good one if you catch my drift. Yes, we’ve had the private investigator neighbor and the neighbor who threw his dog poop over into our yard and that one who parties loudly until 3 am. Oh and then there’s the one with the yappy dog that apparently everyone hears but them. Neighbors don’t always work out so well and rarely do we have the luxury of choosing them.

But more times than not, the neighbor situation has worked out quite well for us.

When our youngest daughter was little we had a neighbor she called, Mr. Boy. Oh, he was such a precious neighbor. He mowed his yard like clockwork each week in his old man coveralls and would stop to talk to anyone who passed by or borrowed his grandkid’s swing set (as our daughter often did). He was a gentle and kind old man and our family is better for having known him.

I’ve shared sidewalks (and elevator shafts) with Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, and Christians. With people from China, Indonesia, Singapore, America, Africa, England, and India. And probably more but five minutes doesn’t allow me to think that hard.


(5 minutes, 242 words)


Okay, so that’s where my five minutes ran out. But I wanted to add to it because, as usual, I had more to say on the topic.


I’ve had neighbors who came to save me from killer geckos (yes I’m exaggerating a little but not much) when our lizard catchers (husband and son) were out of town. I’ve had neighbors who brought me Chinese desserts that I had no idea what they were but ate them anyway. She would wait for me to transfer her dessert into my bowl so she could take hers back. Not sure what she thought I would do with her lovely, reusable, plastic bowl but I was happy to oblige. I would never want to be thought of as the bowl thief neighbor. We’ve had neighbors who shared their generator power with us for nearly 3 weeks after a hurricane. We gathered with said neighbors to consume their prized meat from a quickly thawing freezer. We rolled that delicious meat up in a flour tortilla and slathered it with mustard.

I absolutely love the richness that our eclectic pool of neighbors has brought to my life. When we move, I always look forward to getting to know our neighbors. Sometimes they respond in kind and sometimes they don’t. Like they say, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Right? haha!

I feel so very blessed to have had neighbors from many cultures, countries, backgrounds, and religions. I am better for it. I hope they feel the same way about me.

With move number sixteen in motion, I’m getting excited to see whose yard bumps up next to mine. I am sad to leave our neighbors in England, though. After all, I showed them the ins and outs of how to make a proper s’more. That makes us friends for life, right? I told them the other day that if our new neighbors were half as kind as them we’ll be in good shape.

My mom, the queen of hospitality, taught me never to send a neighbor’s dish back empty. Little did my Chinese neighbor know that she was short-changing herself by taking her bowl back right away. Her bowl would have most likely been filled with some homemade salsa if she had left it with me. My mom also taught me to give generously so yes, they got some salsa anyway and I didn’t ask for my bowl back.

Besides strange desserts and borrowed swing sets, sharing love with our neighbors is the best part of all. I want to be the neighbor who never sends a dish back empty. I want to give back more than I’ve been given.

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 

I am looking forward to the future. Richer and fuller may it be – for me and my new neighbors.

Here’s to new neighbors and full dishes…

(Incidentally, the first word I remember receiving great praise from my dad for spelling correctly was “neighborhood”. It’s one of my most favorite words of all time. I also won a spelling bee with the word “kitten” but I’m not as much of a fan of cats as I am neighbors.)

Click over to Five Minute Friday to read more about this week’s prompt and/or to add your own link.

#fmfparty NEIGHBOR

About Andrea

Writer+Proofreader+Traveler+Foodie+Dreamer. Let's walk and work together.

4 responses »

  1. Wow – so many moves. I cannot begin to imagine that – but, with the moves, comes all the new neighbors:) Sounds like you have been blessed many times over with wonderful neighbors. What a treat! Doesn’t seem like too many share a dish anymore (at least not in my neighborhood) but Mom was right….never return a dish empty!!


  2. I wouldn’t even begin to count my moves, but they were all (but one) US moves – and most when I was a child. The one that warmed my heart the most was our Singapore move. Living in such a multicultural place was the most amazing experience of my life! Neighbors; in Sing; a Japanese, an Egyptian, a Pakistani and a Scotsman. On my goodness the stories we could tell. Baking a turkey on a BBQ grill for us all celebrating an American Thanksgiving and explaining the significance. Sweet, sweet times. And of course I met you. God has been good to us and I always treasure the adventures He lays out before us. Here’s to more good times and great neighbors to come. ❤️



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