My head feels like it’s stuffed with cotton balls. I have gotten one cold after another this winter and, frankly, I’m getting a little sick of it. But last night, life was made a little bit better when I came home from work and found a voicemail message from my neighbor asking us if we wanted some of their dinner leftovers. Yes, yes, the answer is always yes.
When Mark and I bought our house, we were moving from a very large city where we rented a house. In the six years that we lived in the rental house, we spoke to our neighbors about half a dozen times. Actually, Mark was convinced that our immediate next door neighbor was a serial killer which may have contributed to us not making an effort to get to know him. But, no one made an effort to know their neighbors. When we left the big city, we wanted to buy a house. We chose our current house because we loved the layout and because it is conveniently located to my work. While we still love those things, we now realize that the absolute best aspect of our house is our neighborhood. We got lucky. Really lucky.
I don’t know how it started, but we’ve been swapping food with our next door neighbors for several years now. There’s nothing formal about it; my neighbor calls about once every few weeks offering us extras of whatever she’s made or I’ll wander over to their house with an extra loaf of banana bread or a container of soup that would otherwise have gone into the freezer for later. And though the intention behind our food swaps has never been to save money, I certainly can’t complain about a free meal.
“Dinner in a jar” she called it last night and said it was nothing special. But, as my neighbor maintains, dinner always tastes better if you don’t have to prepare it yourself. I couldn’t agree more.
So, how about you? Do you swap anything with friends or family? Clothes, books, something else? And, do you do it to save money or for some other reason?