Neighbors: Great neighbors are a blessing

Hello neighbor.

I was at my twin grandsons’ birthday party this past weekend when I got into a discussion with my son-in-law’s grandfather Jim Williams of Sunderland. He asked me about my column, which he said he reads faithfully, and that led us into a much broader discussion about neighbors.

We all know a neighbor when we see one. I’ve talked about how neighbors extend beyond the streets we live on. We in Franklin County are all neighbors of each other, and we are all world neighbors.

But I was thinking, after our conversation, about our neighbors who are closest in proximity. We all, at the very least, know them by sight. We’ve exchanged a “Hello” now and then or have waved to them. There are others we’ve never noticed, for whatever reason.

If you have good neighbors, consider yourself blessed, because we have all had the neighbor who makes life a nightmare.

A good neighbor is friendly, considerate and respectful. Some stop to talk with you or take time to stop and buy lemonade from your child. Some will wave each time they see you or even reach out when they know you are in need.

What I want all of us to remember is that, as the famous saying goes, “It takes a village ...” and our neighbors — those living right next to us, in our town, throughout our county and across the country and beyond — are our village.

But what do we do when we run into one of those not-so-pleasant neighbors who complain, compete or just, for some reason, go out of their way to try to make our lives miserable? Believe me, I know how difficult it is to deal with some like that, but we have to try.

Like I always tell my children and will eventually teach my grandchildren, you have to take a step back and think about what might be going on in other people’s lives. Maybe they’re lonely, so bitterness has set in, or they’re unhappy and it consumes them.

So, the next time you run into an unfriendly, or even nasty, neighbor, try to defuse the situation by waving or saying, “hello,” or maybe by just giving them a great big smile.

Have a great week.

NOW IT’S TIME TO HELP A NEIGHBOR battling a rare medical condition who needs help paying some medical bills — and you can have fun at the same time. Her name is Kelley Wilkey and on Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy some fantastic music and dance in the Greenfield Energy Park, while helping her.

The Celtic-Bluegrass Fest will be held Saturday from noon to 4 p.m.. The John Putnam Fiddlers’ Reunion will be happening at the same time.

Celtic Heels School of Irish Dance is hosting the event for Kelley. Entertainers for that event will include Russ Thomas & the Nearly Normal String Band, Katherine First & Last Night’s Fun, Celticado, Fireseed and Hob Sew & The Greens.

I THINK YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED in hearing about an event that will be happening this coming Friday and Saturday in Montague Center.

In a barn at the back of the white house at the Town Common in Montague Center, Traveling Rhubarb will perform a circus production, “Blown Away,” about a girl who gets blown into Fairyland. The show is choreographed, directed and organized entirely by about a dozen youngsters under the age of 16, who are part of the Traveling Rhubarb Circus.

“This is not about a bunch of kids doing shaky cartwheels or jumping through a hoop in a lion’s costume,” said circus member Rose Jackson. “Instead, audiences will find acts on trapeze, acrobatics, aerial fabrics, juggling and humor from resident clown Jackson Blain.”

There will be one show on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and two on Saturday at 2 and 6:30 p.m.

For more information about the show, including directions and ticket cost, visit: You can also call Jeanne at 413-367-9923.

LAKE PLEASANT VILLAGE ASSOCIATION is having a tag sale on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Scalpers Lodge on Lake Pleasant Road. There will also be a pie auction (doesn’t that sound delicious) at 1 p.m.

And, by the way, if you’d like to contribute anything for the tag sale, bring it, or them, to the fire station building in Lake Pleasant on Friday between 3 and 5 p.m.

If it rains on Saturday, the sale will be held on Sunday, same time and same place.

BAYSTATE FRANKLIN AUXILIARY in Greenfield is looking for volunteers. BFA is a nonprofit auxiliary of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, which raises money from vendor sales, raffles and the hospital’s gift shop. All of what the group raises supports patient services and the purchase of medical equipment. Each year, BFA, a 118-year-old volunteer organization, contributes an average of $65,000 to the hospital.

For more information, or if you would like to become a volunteer, contact Diane Grybko at 413-665-7760 or email her at:

OUR NEIGHBOR CHRISTINA ASHENDEN wants to help end hunger one step at a time, and she’d like you to help her do it. She is raising money for the Crop Hunger Walk to help the needy get food. Twenty-five percent of all of the money Christina and others raise will stay local, while the rest will help feed hungry people all over the world.

If you would like to help, contact Christina at:

For more information about the walk, visit:

RECORDER EDITOR CHRIS HARRIS would still like to know about your holiday collection, favorite ornament or special holiday memory. She’d also like to know about the secrets of a successful Christmas church bazaar or holiday fair. She’ll be including these in some upcoming Recorder supplements.

Please call her at 413-772-0261, ext. 265 or email her at:

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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