What's Your Next-Door Neighbor Story?

What's that smell??

In the 70s, my energetic, handy husband and I were living the back-to-the-land, owner-built-home life, complete with toddlers (often naked), goats (milked daily), garden (fresh-picked strawberries!), and woodstove (burning our own wood). We cut and split the wood ourselves on our 40 acres of trees and cross-country trails in the Adirondack Park in very upstate New York. The life was difficult and grueling, but strangely satisfying.

It worked partly due to our generous and funny neighbors, Sue and Steve, another young couple with small children. They were situated just a couple hundred feet away, doing all the same things. We shared house building projects, meals, child-care, our bathroom facilities (theirs were still under construction), a dog, mosquitoes and black flies, chores and milking, long conversations around the woodstove, and lots of laughs.

As back-to-the-landers, we all worked and played hard, got filthy, and enjoyed a good shower at the end of the day in our lime-green shower/tub. Except for Steve. Steve never bathed - at all. As time went on, this personality quirk of his became increasingly - uh - noticeable. Eventually, during a shared meal at our house one evening, we had to ask him to leave, as we were all getting nauseated from his smell. Steve seemed unfazed by our request, but did leave so the rest of us could finish our meal. That was the last time we shared a meal in either house, but we did continue to share our outdoor lives. (And no, there was not a Hollywood ending. Steve still did not bathe after that.)


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Have a Next-Door Neighbor Story?

As part of our new webcomic, Next-Door Neighbor, we thought it appropriate to have a little contest. Tell us your best true next-door neighbor story, and the winning tale will be matched with an artist and transformed into a webcomic and included as the final installment of Next-Door Neighbor.

About Next-Door Neighbor

No matter how close or how far, we all live next to someone, and we all have a Next-Door Neighbor story. With that in mind, editor Dean Haspiel asked some of his favorite storytellers and cartoonists to create their favorite NDN stories so we could share them with you.

The Fine Print & Contest Rules

By submitting an entry, you are granting SMITH the right to reprint or republish that entry online or in print, as well as make any necessary edits. See SMITH's terms of service for complete details.

This contest ends September 1, 2008. Prizes are not redeemable for cash and must be accepted as awarded. Winners are decided at the discretion of SMITH judges and all decisions are final. SMITH reserves the right to change the contest rules. Enter as often as you want. SMITH reserves the right to reprint or republish all entries.

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