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Beware false neighbors, they aren't civilized

September 6, 2022

By Mike Weland

In my years covering news in Boundary County, one thing I've learned is that all who land here and want to be accepted as neighbors are. We can bicker, we can argue, we can fight. But when troubles come, as they always do in a rough and unforgiving land, we distinguish ourselves, born here or belated, by how we respond. Those who will be good neighbors ask "what can I do to help?" without hesitation.

Neighbors put aside differences and throw out a hand in the teeth of an emergency, be it a blizzard, sickness, flood, mud or, of late, wildfires burning down from places only the strongest, most daring and dedicated can reach, to protect us, knowing tomorrow may well be worse.

Professional firefighters, weighed down with gear and the most rudimentary of tools, apply learning and experience gleaned over years to go sensibly into the teeth of flames to protect homes, people and property. Pilots fly into the most treacherous conditions to lay water in just the right place. They imperil themselves to protect us.

And down here in the "civilized" world, neighbors give of their time, strength and possessions to support those most threatened; cutting firebreaks, clearing brush, taking food and refreshment, offering comfort when the best efforts fail. It's what good neighbors do.

Such is what once made Boundary County, Idaho, "the friendliest city in Idaho."

But there are the few claiming to be neighbors who simply don't get it. Instead of helping, they assert "you should have done it this way!"

They stand on their porch and watch the sweat-stained weary go by, offering criticism instead of thanks, recommendations instead of water. Advice instead of assistance.

They know better what should be done, having experience in those places where they come from. They give advice freely, but refuse to pick a shovel or pack a lunch. They might be neighbors by virtue of living nearby, but they are not neighborly.

Thankfully, after the smoke clears and the fortunes that kept them safe at great cost didn't pan out quite so safe, many of these folks will put their Boundary County estates on the market, re-pack their U-Hauls and head back to the safer and more sensible places they came from, never having come to know the good neighbors here who lived next door Their loss, our blessing.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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