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Not On My Watch

I love our neighborhood: I know most of
the people who live around us, and we all kind of keep an eye out
for each other and our kids. My next-door neighbor, for example,
called me at the beginning of the school year and asked me to watch
for her children coming home every day. She’s a school
teacher in another district and gets home a bit later, and her
husband is a fire fighter with sporadic off days; so most days she
allows her second-grader and fourth-grader to walk home by
themselves. I’m happy to keep them in the back of my brain as
I go about my business, living in this friendly little

The other day I drove to pick up Maddie instead of my usual
walking, and as we were driving home I saw our neighbor kids
walking down the sidewalk. In front of me I noticed a red jeep
driving slowly towards them; our mailman actually drives a red jeep
rather than a regulation mail car (long story) so I assumed it was
his jeep and he was going slow to be careful.

But then the jeep pulled up alongside the kids, and the two
children walked over and leaned in. And talked to the unknown

And then opened the car door, and climbed in.

Before you could say “Holy
Sustainable-Energy Superhero”, I’d zipped our electric
car around that red jeep and pulled sideways in front of it at an
angle, blocking it from moving. I didn’t know that car, or
the driver, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to let them drive
away with my neighbor’s kids.

Sure, I was small and pitting my little plug-in car against this
four-wheel drive jeep, but that thing wasn’t getting around
this mama. I leaned forward and peered into the jeep.

Apparently, our neighbors got a new car. A jeep, to be exact. A red

It’s was the dad’s day off from the fire station and
he’d decided to surprise his kids with a ride home in his new
jeep. I can truthfully say the kids were not the only ones

I looked up into his quizzical face and waved. “Hey, there,
neighbor! I see you got a new car! Just wanted to take a close
look! Ok, I’ll be going now! See you later!” And I
quietly pulled back and drove myself on home.

So I might have misjudged the situation. I might have felt a little

On the other hand, I hope all my friends do the same thing when
they see my kids getting into an unknown car. That’s what we
do in the ‘hood – we watch out for our kids.

And friends – if you get a new car, could you send me a photo
ASAP, please? Life will go much smoother if you do.


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