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That is What Good Neighbors Do

Story ID:10023
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Year:2014
Person:Neighbors
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Early evening, a Wednesday; the work day over; time to relax with a book. I sat reading.
My neighbor of only a few months stepped out onto our shared balcony, grunted and sat down.

“Are you OK, Travis?”

“I don’t feel good.”

I looked at him. His face was pale and there was a sheen of sweat on his forehead.
“What’s wrong?”

He put his elbows on his knees and leaned forward in obvious pain. “I don’t know.
My stomach hurts and I’ve been sick to my stomach all afternoon.”

“Maybe you have a bug of some kind.”

“I don’t know, but I hope it ends soon.”

Ginny joined us. “Travis doesn’t feel good.” I advised her.

Ginny, the doctor of our house, asked him a lot of questions and made a few suggestions.

I sat and had flashbacks to when Ginny had appendicitis and wondered if that was the
problem. I second guessed myself and thought, “Maybe not.”

The next morning Ginny stepped out and Travis sat in his chair. He looked worse.
“That’s it!” Ginny remarked. “I’m taking a shower and getting dressed. You be ready. I’m
taking you to the hospital.” She came to the same conclusion as I did the night before.

Travis’ wife worked and was not allowed to take time off or maybe wasn’t paid if she
did. He was out of work and they needed the money. Ginny took him and called me at work,
“Mike, I took Travis to the hospital. He has appendicitis. They’re prepping him for surgery.
I want you to leave work early and be there when he wakes. His wife can’t be there. I don’t
want him to wake up and be alone.”

I gladly did what she wanted.

I arrived at the hospital. They hadn’t taken him to surgery yet. I was able to see him,
just before they wheeled him away. He held my hand, “Thanks for coming, Mike. I hurt so
bad.”

“You’ll be fine soon, Travis. They’re going to fix you.”

I gave him a smile and they wheeled him away.

After surgery, they took me to a room where the surgeon would come to give
his report. An older couple sat in the same room. They were Travis’ parents. I didn’t
know they were going to be able to come, but they did.

We introduced ourselves and listened as the surgeon told us the operation was a
success, although he really had to search for Travis’ appendix. It was tucked away in an
unusual spot. It hadn’t burst, but it was close.”

Travis’ parents were there, so I left them to be with their son.

Two days later, Friday evening, the phone rang. It was Travis. Ginny offered to bring
him home if he needed a ride when he was released. He needed a ride, because his wife was
working.

Gin and I hopped into the car and drove the twenty miles to Boise and got the man home.

“Why do you do so much for me?” he asked.

“Because that’s what neighbors do for each other.” we both replied.

I lived with good and bad neighbors over the years. We don’t want to be bad ones.
We treat neighbors like family

We’re not bragging about the things we did for Travis. We’re setting an example
we hope he and his wife will follow. We did it, because that is what good neighbors do.”

Michael T. Smith