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By Alice M. Batzel

Life comes to us in chapters and through experiences, and most often it's shared with those that we love and admire. A good friend and their example is something that affects our lives for the long-term, and I have found that to be the case with my friend, Kathy Neibert.

I can see the home of my neighbor, Kathy Neibert, from my bedroom window, and she can see my home when she’s in her yard or when she stands in her driveway. We attend the same church congregation, exchange a wave as we drive past each other’s home, catch up on the news of family and friends when at church, and I have had the great opportunity to be a class member when she’s taught the women’s Relief Society lessons at our Sunday church services. I would also like to make it a matter “of record” that I think she has the “prettiest hair” of all the women in our 22nd Ward. Oh, how many times I have wished I had her head of beautiful white hair. But even more so, I have been blessed by her friendship and constant good example of a gracious woman of faith. She possesses the talent of joyfulness, withholding judgment, and daily practices the art of “gifting” to others in many ways, whether with a word of encouragement, exchanging a laugh, sharing a sweet treat, or bearing her testimony of Jesus Christ. I have been a recipient of each of these “gifts,” and at this time I would like to share a memory of one of those.

My home might be the only one in our neighborhood that doesn’t use a curbside mailbox even though one was present on our curb for a few years. We had a terrible time with that wobbly mailbox frequently falling off of its pole, and we would have to retrieve it, re-position and secure it. We finally decided that renting a post office box at our local post office would work best for our postal needs. One June when I was in our front yard, I looked at the old mailbox and thought I should check to see if it had a wasp nest inside before we asked someone to remove and discard it for us permanently. I carefully cracked the mailbox door open and peered inside, hoping that I would not invite a swarm of wasps. Thankfully, there was no wasp nest. But I was quite surprised to find a plate of cookies and a lovely Christmas card from my neighbor, Kathy Neibert. Oh, what a laugh I had. On the following Sunday, I approached Kathy and said, “Thank you, Kathy. I got your Christmas cookies and card this week.” She looked at me with wide-eyes and said, “What?” I explained that we don’t use the old mailbox, but before having it pulled up and discarded, I found her cookies and card sitting inside. She laughed and laughed, and that made me laugh even harder. I explained, “I hope you didn’t think we were ungrateful for your Christmas gift at the time, but we truly didn’t know it was in the old mailbox at the curb.” She was still laughing when she replied, “I didn’t think that. You weren’t home when I brought them to your door, and I thought you’d get them from the mailbox the next day. I had forgotten about it since then, but at the time I thought you were just busy with the holidays and we neither spoke of it. That is too funny!” I don’t know who laughed harder, but we both enjoyed a good laugh about it together.

It has been quite a few years since I received those Christmas cookies in June, but every Christmas and every summer I think of her kindness, her laughter, and it makes me love her even more. We should all be so lucky to have such a friend and neighbor like my dear friend and neighbor, Kathy Neibert.

(narrative copyright April 29, 2018 – Alice M. Batzel – all rights reserved)

(photo credit: From the Facebook page of Christmas Cottage Corner)

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