To the editor,
While growing up in American Falls, my parents did a great job of instilling the importance of being a “good person” and a “good neighbor” in me. My mother LOVED to cook and I can recall almost every time she would bake something she would always make two…one for us…one to share. It was usually to share with a neighbor who was sick, a friend who had family visiting, or to bring to church. My father LOVED growing/tending to his huge garden. His running joke was that if you were parked in Cardinal’s parking lot and had your window open, don’t be surprised if you found a zucchini or two waiting for you when you returned to your car. He grew more than he needed with the purpose of sharing the rest. And his all-time motto—no matter where we were—was “Always leave things better than when you arrived.” This meant bringing bags with us on our walks to pick up garbage, and if we didn’t have bags, we’d pick up the garbage and find a trash can to put it in. And, of course, on any road trip we took, we would always make sure we had a box of authentic Idaho potatoes with us to share with those we met on our journeys.
These memories bring back such fond feelings/emotions for me. I love that my parents instilled these values in me, and that I can pass them on to my children. As I was reading the latest Power County Press I was thrilled to read Marc Beitia’s article about “Finding good neighbors.” Encouraging neighborly acts of kindness are a great way to build community and friendships. I’ve found, since leaving American Falls, that one of the best/important things we can teach our children is the importance of taking pride and responsibility in where they live. My daughter taught me this at an early age. When she was about two we found a great recipe for dog biscuits, but did not own a dog. She said we should still make them and share them with the dogs in our neighborhood. This soon became one of our favorite family traditions. We have our favorite recipe and soon knew many of our neighbors. There was Muffin 1, Muffin 2, Misty, and Keisha (just some of our favorites). She felt empowered and confident in her ability to help those around her, as well as the joy that came from knowing, greeting, and sharing with her neighbors.
We are privileged to get to visit American Falls yearly and I am always impressed with the outpouring of neighborly gifts that we receive/see during our visits. One year in particular I recall we received homemade zucchini bread, cake, meals, magazines/stickers for the kids, and fresh fruits and veggies. Friends and neighbors knew we were visiting my parents and they wanted to help and welcome us. I can only say that I love the idea of a “Good neighbor” award and appreciate the Willow Bay’s kindness in providing the gift certificates….but I think it is going to be an EXTREMELY difficult decision determining the weekly recipient as American Falls is filled with truly amazing neighbors.
Jaynee (Cavaness) Haygood