As women writers, we work in solitude. Yet, few of us produce a completed, polished novel alone. We depend on our fellow writers for critiques, encouragement, holding our feet to the writing fire, and for the exchange of information on everything from marketing to the newest industry trends. We join groups like Montana Women Writers to learn, to share our knowledge, successes, and to have someone to commiserate with when the inevitable rejection letters come. We are a neighborhood of strong women writers. But we are helped in our writing journey by many non-writers like family, friends, and even neighbors next door. I was reflecting on this last month on the one-year anniversary of the death of my neighbor, Ida Mae Vonderheide.
In the thirty years I was blessed to have Ida as my friend and neighbor, I never found anything she couldn’t do. Plumbing, electrical, even roofing. I trailed after her in awe as she put in phone lines, fixed leaky pipes, and diagnosed correctly why my car refused to start. But she didn’t stop there. She’d phone one of her sons and tell them, “Bring Debbie a new battery, (or whatever was needed) and put it on for her.” And they would.
My husband worked out of state for years and the kids married, moved away or left for college. But even though I lived alone much of the time, I never worried because Ida was just a phone call and a couple of acres away. When I was in a wheelchair due to a car accident, Ida took me to the doctor. Once, I was caring for my dad who had dementia and his bathroom sink started leaking. When Ida heard about it, she and her sister, Martha, came over and worked until midnight to fix it! Need help finding the best water witch or tax preparer? Call Ida. Around our house, Ida’s words were gospel.
Although Ida left us too soon, I think of her every day. Every time I pick up the phone, I remember Ida put those phone lines in. The lights in the barn: Ida wired those, too. Even when I turn onto the dirt road we live on and see the county road sign, I am reminded of my cherished friend and neighbor. The name of our road—Vonderheide Lane.
There is a Chinese Proverb: A good neighbor is a priceless treasure. The author of that proverb must have had the good fortune to have a neighbor like Ida Mae Vonderheide.
Thanks for stopping by ~~ Deborah
My new novel, SHADOWS of HOME, a southern romantic suspense will be out later this month on Amazon.