The Kid Next Door

Jun 20, 2024
Written by: Rodney Wilson

I need to preface this article with a bit of history. When we found our home on 22nd Street Northwest some 45 years ago, we didn’t really look at the neighborhood more than to ask the realtor if she knew anything about the neighbors. Whether she was just being honest or playing the “less is more” game so she could sell the house, she said “no, not really.” I knew the family that owned the house we were looking at, and well, we fell in love with the house, so it wasn’t going to make a huge difference to us who the neighbors were.

As it turns out, Rod & Sue Wilson would be the youngest couple on the block. We didn’t have any kids at that point in our marriage, but all of the other couples around us were older, and their kids had graduated from high school and moved on. Some of the houses would eventually sell to younger couples, but for the most part, we were the stable homeowners in the neighborhood, watching with curiosity as current neighbors would leave and new neighbors move in.

Fast forward to June of 2024 when the house next to us went up for sale, and soon had a “sale pending” sign on it. The first inkling that our new neighbor(s) might be once again affiliated with Minot Air Force Base was an Illinois license plate on a car that seemed to sporadically appear. Then one day the For Sale signed disappeared, and a truck brought some large boxes that looked a lot like furniture.

Curiosity will “kill a cat” according to my dad, and we were certainly curious about our new neighbors, and our curiosity would soon be solved as last Saturday a young man would unbox his new lawn mower and take on a seriously neglected lawn, with the help of another young man, whose car would sport a Texas license plate. Yep, gotta be Airmen, we surmised, and so now all we need was an open time slot to deliver cookies as a “Welcome to the neighborhood” gift. That opportunity came on Monday evening. We made the trek and rang the doorbell, and a young man in a uniform came to the door.” Hello, we’re the Wilsons from next door” my wife would say, and she immediately received a hug and a “thank-you”.

I immediately noticed his wing patch, “91st Missile Wing?” I would ask, and he would answer with a “Yes, for sure.” His name is Denton, and he is originally from the Midwest he said. “Illinois, you know so kinda Midwest, but not as cold” he would tell us. “91st MMS” (I think he said but will confirm next time we talk).

The next 5-10 minutes were spent talking about the neighborhood and how the Wilson’s, once the young kids on the block, were now the senior residents. How our kids grew up in the neighborhood, but have all move on and guess what? We have 4 grandkids.

Nope folks, didn’t bring out the cell phones with the 100’s of grandkid photos quite yet. Maybe next time. Denton had noticed that I had spent a majority of my weekend up to my elbows working on my lawnmower, and guess what? “I see you’re having trouble with your lawnmower. If you want to borrow mine, or want me to mow your lawn, just let me know.” Really!, I thought. He’s a better man than I to give up a brand new lawnmower to a guy whom he just met.

We’ll hopefully get more information about our new neighbor some evening when we invite him over to grill burgers and share stories. We were especially happy to hear that Denton will probably be in Minot for quite a while (of course that is never for sure). I thought of all the things that I could have, as a good neighbor, offered to Denton. I own about every tool a home handyman would need, and a bit of knowledge on how to fix things when they are broke. We also know all of the “fix-it” folks who, through experience, offer good service at a reasonable price. I was thinking that I know a lot about his house and can answer questions that may come up about, when was this replaced, or has the furnace every had maintenance issues?

Finally, I guess we need to just plain and simple, be good neighbors, and that might mean “speak when spoken to relationship.” I am thinking that based on our first conversation, it will be a North Dakota nice relationship, but only time will tell.

For now, the kid next door has turned into Denton, and we only hope that he thinks of us as that nice older couple next door. Stay tuned, more to come…

Best Kept Secrets
We were able to attend a performance of the MSU Summer Theater presentation of All Shook Up. It was great. We forget how close we are to quality theater performances that will take place all summer. More information is available on their MSU Summer Theater web site. I have my tickets for all 3 of the shows coming up through July..

Today’s Chuckle
Hindsight is the reason they put all those three-way mirrors in department stores.

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