Lessons from my husband: Making friends as a grown-up

This post is the first part of my "Lessons from my husband" series, where I explore the ways in which my husband has taught me how better to enjoy life and some of his traits and practices which inspire my awe.

My husband made a friend this past weekend.  He simply walked over to our neighbor's house, knocked on his door, and asked for help building a walking bridge for our neighborhood trail. 

When my husband told me his idea, I was taken aback.  Many of us who have dogs in the neighborhood regularly visit a wooded, protected area tucked behind houses and streets, and patches of the trail accumulate mud and water with each rainfall.  Over the years, the neighbors who live closest to the trail have laid down mulch or built small wooden bridges over the many of the mudpiles, but some swampy areas remain.  Every day, when Dan and I would take Gigi on her walk, we would remark that we should do our part in maintaining the trail by somehow attending to that muddy area.

This past Saturday, Dan decided that the time had come.  "I think that I am going to head over to Jason's* house and see if he might want to help me build a bridge for the woods," he announced.  I looked at him as though he had four heads.  Sure, we had made friendly small talk with these neighbors before, discussing our dogs' habits and neighborhood news, but we had never ventured beyond the safety of driveway chatter, remaining tethered to the edge of sidewalks with our dogs by our sides and poop bags in hand, both ready excuses to escape at any moment.  But embarking on a trip to Home Depot together and beginning a building project side-by-side?  That involved an entirely unprecedented level of commitment.

Jason said yes.  So the two of them worked together all Saturday afternoon, and Dan learned how Jason and his family had to put their dog to sleep the day before, how Jason and his wife once attended a wedding with fishing boats available to the guests at the reception, how Jason built the pergola in his backyard to create more privacy and separation from a difficult next-door neighbor.  At the end of the project, Jason offered firewood to Dan and that was that.  They were friends, and it came as easily as it does for five-year-olds on the playground, except these two grown men met and played not amid slides and swings but hammers and nails.

All because Dan just asked.

*name changed for privacy