Edna Crawford was the best neighbor I’ve ever had.
Living next to her was like having a grandmother next door. In fact, in a lot of ways she reminded me of my own grandmother. She was generous without fault. She was protective of those she loved. And she had a work ethic that any employer would die for in his employees.
Wait Just a Minute…
I can’t tell you how many times Edna gave me food.
One day she saw me walking in my yard.
“You like tomatoes?” she shouted from her front porch.
“I sure do,” I said.
“Hold on a minute. I’ll get you some.”
She emerged from the house with the biggest tomatoes I’d ever seen in my whole life.
Those were without a doubt the best, juiciest, most delicious tomatoes that ever graced a hamburger at my house.
Sometimes we’d be sitting around watching TV when we’d hear a knock on the door. I’d go answer it and there she would be with a plate of Divinity or Pound Cake or something she’d spent all day baking.
“I hope you like it. If you don’t, just throw it away.”
“Thanks, Mrs. Edna. You know you didn’t have to do that.”
“Well, I was just baking stuff and wanted you to have some.”
We never threw away anything she ever cooked for us. Her hand in the kitchen was as keen as it was in the garden.
The Greenest Thumb I’ve Ever Seen
Edna could take anything that even had the slightest chance of living and make it grow. She raised roses in colors I never imagined roses could be. The outside of her home was always well adorned with a variety of flowers that rivaled the Botanical Gardens.
My wife Missy would regularly go and admire Edna’s flowers. And nearly every time she did, Edna sent her home with something to put in a vase. She offered us flowers to plant in our own yard, but we politely declined since neither of us know how to keep flowers alive for more than a few hours.
She Packed Heat
Missy recalls when she first met Edna.
“Hi, I’m Edna Crawford. Come inside and let me show you something.”
As they went in the house, Edna showed Missy her gun.
“If anybody bothers you, you let me know. I want you to know that nobody messes with me and my property. And they won’t mess with you either.”
And for the entire time she lived next to us, we have never felt threatened. And why should we with such a watchdog?
One day Missy came home in an unfamiliar car with her dad. Edna watched as the car passed. When Missy got out of the car and waved, “It’s me, Edna” she smiled.
She was always looking out for us.
And we felt we should look out for her too.
A few times I mowed her grass when I knew she wasn’t feeling well. She offered Missy money for it, but we never took it. She had done so much for us that it seemed like robbery to be paid to do her a favor.
She Believed In the Value of Work
For years, she’d spend all the warm days of the years watering, pruning, and tending to her flowers.
In the heat of summer, she’d get on her riding mower and plow down her lawn.
And to keep busy the rest of the year, she baked food she could give away to anyone with an appetite that crossed her path.
The Best Neighbor Anyone Could Want
Who wouldn’t want a neighbor like Edna?
You knew she loved you when she wanted to give you something every time you visited.
You knew she cared about you when she took the time to watch out for your welfare.
You knew she cared about her community by the way she worked to keep her home beautiful.
We have lots of fond memories of Edna. We laughed together. We prayed for her when she was in pain. We checked on her when she was home alone.
She’ll leave a big hole in our lives now that she’s gone.
We wouldn’t trade our memories of her for all the gold in the world.
And I hope that what I’ve learned from her will make me a better man for my family, my community, and the world.