It is easy to love your neighbor as yourself when your neighbor has become your friend. Judy Beaumont and I and our family of pets- dogs,cats and birds,moved to Eastshore Drive over fifteen years ago. We knew no one but we were warmly welcomed into a Group of neighbors who celebrated Birthdays of all members and enjoyed gatherings especially around holidays. Our next door neighbor Gene, Imogene Ryan, a woman of great faith, was a prime mover in the group and she also became someone to share faith and prayer with. We have become very good back door friends and enjoy praying together when either of us has the need for sharing prayer requests. We love to share stories of life on our lake and call to remind one another to look for the visiting otters or ducks or coots. Gene’s daughter Jane and her husband Eric Salna (also sometimes our CBS weatherman!) are also part of our special group on occasion. Gene supported us when one of our foster daughters from Connecticut came to live with us for a year. That was a time of much prayer. And we have supported one another through very serious illnesses and the losses of loved ones.
Sonja Miller too, is a very special friend. We share the love of cats and Sonja is a proud mother of two of our Mama cat’s kittens. They were adopted when we had the Church in the Park and a homeless couple living in the woods realized that they could not care for their kittens. The first year we adopted one and found a home for another one. The second year Sonja adopted two beautiful white kittens and in the third year the couple split up and left the cats so I had to go into the woods and gather them. Mama Guinevere and five kittens walked quickly into our carrier and were happy to have an inside home. The kittens were so beautiful we thought them immediately adoptable. But only two were adopted as the rest had Feline AIDS like Mama Guinevere. So they are still with us-still quite well and sassy as can be. Sonja and I visit the siblings and help with cat care. But now, most of all Sonja and Judy and I share the commonality of surviving cancer. Though we have different types and manifestations of cancer, we each know the territory and are so happy to have someone to share with. We are a natural support group for one another and can share the feelings and fears when we wonder “if the other shoe is going to drop”. We bolster each other up and pray with and for one another. We have the same wonderful Doctor, James Reeves, at Cancer Specialists of Florida and we are blessed to have each other as company on this road. Sonja attends a more formal support group and we have supportive friends but we all thank God for providing the support we need right where we live.
Because of illness, and aging, and probably because of feelings about our ordinations as Roman Catholic Women priests, the original group that included three other wonderful women, has grown smaller in recent years. We pray for all of our neighbors and group members but Gene and Sonja are the blessings of Eastshore Drive for us.
These are our Fourth of July 2013 pictures, and some of our cats!
It is so good to love our neighbors!