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An Open Letter to Our New Neighbors

Dear A,

We're so excited that soon you and your family will be our neighbors. And by neighbors, we mean that in the country sense that you are located in our part of the county. Not in the cul de sac sense of neighbors who can open their respective bathroom windows and share toothpaste, Just hold the brush out a little farther...

But before you move in, there are some local customs you should know about, some social norms (thank you Soc 101) that you should follow.

I know you're not the kind of person who would do this anyway, but I want to remind you not to speak ill of anyone outside the private confines of your home until you have memorized the entire genealogy of the community. I am a lifelong resident and I still get kicked under the table by my mother at least once a month for saying something less than gushing about someone whose sister-in-law's neighbor's best friend is sitting in the next booth. There are people living here who are literally related to everyone in the community either as cousins, in-laws, or by virtue of the fact they have divorced all remaining non-related people of the opposite sex.

On the flip side, be careful who you are nice to. I can just see you standing in line at the bank, striking up conversation with a nice gentleman about how you just built a house out on K Road, but you could be unintentionally allying yourself on the wrong side of a decades old feud.

Lest you think it's all drama and scandal out here, I want you to know that the people in this community are very concerned about your eternal salvation. When word gets out that there is a professional couple moving in with school-age children, every church welcome wagon in a 5 mile radius will go into hyper-drive. We have a population of roughly 900 people and five churches. You could be deacon on your second Sunday. But be sure to tell all those Methodists to back off--we Presbyterians have already claimed you for the softball team!

Don't worry, A, there are tons of perks to moving here. We have our own historic movie theater, the By-Jo, that shows first-run movies for $3 a ticket. When you drop clothes off at Browns Cleaners, they don't give you a ticket--they don't even ask your name. When you come back to claim your laundry, they know your face and retrieve your clothes without any ID. When you buy your Maytag at Schenck Furniture, they will tell you honestly which model will work best for you--and deliver it at your convenience.

I could go on and on about our local restaurants and the scenic Germantown Dam, but you get the picture. It's a great place to live and we can't wait to share it with you.

Your Friend,



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