In 2017, Jeremy Smith and Rachel Meadows-Smith moved to a house in Homewood that was perfect for them, except it didn’t have a garage.
No problem; Jeremy’s dad said he would help them build a garage, extending their long, narrow driveway to meet it behind the house. They enthusiastically planned for the project, which the family would complete themselves.
Then they hit a snag, realizing their driveway was too narrow for a concrete truck to maneuver down. If they couldn’t get the truck back there to pour concrete for the garage foundation and driveway extension, they would have to transport it all in wheelbarrows.
“My father-in-law, Paul, couldn’t sleep because he was so worried about how we were going to get the truck back there,” Meadows-Smith said.
They devised a creative solution — the truck could come down their neighbors’ driveway off Maple Road and onto the Smiths’ property, which is on Western Avenue. It would also require rolling back the neighbors’ chain-link fence where the properties meet.
Those neighbors were 99-year-old Jean Sherrill and her son, Harry. Sherrill said she has lived in her Ravisloe neighborhood home since 1965. Along with Jeremy, Paul knocked on the Sherrills’ door with their request.
“I thought it was a fine idea. We were so impressed by his skills, and it’s nice to see things growing over there,” Sherrill said as Harry finished mowing their expansive lawn. “We have had many neighbors and some planted flowers, some had no interest in the outdoors. So it was quite a change when the Smiths moved in and things started moving very quickly.”
After completing the garage job, the Smiths reinstalled the Sherrills’ fence and even straightened it out in the process. Then they told the Sherrills if they had a snow plow service, to cancel it. The Smiths would be using their four-wheeler to plow the Sherrills’ driveway from then on.
“We did have a service, and it was expensive,” Sherrill said. “You can’t imagine how nice it is to be able to depend on someone.”
Meadows-Smith, who is 27, said she and her husband don’t have much family living nearby, so she feels thankful to trust their neighbors. And she loves waving hello to “Miss Jean” and visiting with her.
“She never hesitates to pop out and say hello,” said Meadows-Smith. “It’s nice to have people here who watch out for us. It’s a good block in general.”