The gurgling noise was so loud that I heard it inside the house on Saturday morning. When I walked outside, water was bubbling up from under the house in the vicinity of the outside faucet in my front yard. The side of the house was already flooded. A pipe, apparently, had burst.

I knew to turn the water off at the main. But I didn’t know how I was going to do it because I don’t have a key for the cover. Which is when my neighbor, Dave Hanger, was driving down the street. Dave, a plumber, saw me messing with the water main and probably knew I was hopelessly out of my element.

He stopped his van before I knew what was going on, removed the cover, and turned off the water. Then, Dave spent 90 minutes or so Saturday digging and mucking about to find the leak. Finally, he returned yesterday morning in the wet and cold to replace the broken pipe and install a very 21st-century gizmo that will allow me to turn the water off at the house, bleed the lines and do several other things that I probably don’t even know exist. And the price was quite reasonable.

We talk a lot about neighborhoods around here, and some of it may seem abstract or even corny. That’s why I wanted to mention this, because it’s the perfect example of what we mean when we talk about neighbors and neighborhoods. Dave didn’t have to stop. It’s not like we’re pals. But he saw someone who needed a hand, and he lent it. How many other places in this city is that going to happen?



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