Watching my son, Nick, and his son, Boone, shoot off fireworks on the night of July 4th reminded me of some of the best neighbors that my family every had. When my children were younger and still at home we lived next door to a wonderful older couple, Jack and Bobbie Pew of Noel, Missouri, whose children were all grown, and who had grandchildren the age of my kids. The Pew's were retired but still had a good income off of their family business, the Jack Pew Oil Company, a concern that distributed gasoline and petroleum products to several quick stops and gas stations in the southwestern corner of the state. I believe they also owned a couple of quick stops as well.
Jack and Bobbie were wealthy by local standards, and they were not penny-pinchers, especially where kids were concerned. Every year on the Fourth of July they would set off fireworks in their back yard for their grandkids, and our children were always invited over to watch and join in the fun. They had the big, expensive fireworks - and lots of them!
Jack and Bobbie's other favorite holiday was Halloween. Everybody trick-or-treated at their house because they gave away Hershey Bars - not the little economy-sized ones, but real, full-sized, delicious Hershey Bars. Because we were next door, and because I was the elementary school principal in town, all of the kiddos would traipse over to our house after visiting the Pew's. One year I counted over four hundred! The little beggars got regular Halloween candy at the Macy's!
(I often wondered how many of those youngsters hit the Pew house multiple times on Halloween!)
The Pew's were also good friends. Jack loved to visit out in the yard as he worked with his flowers - he raised numerous varieties of irises, and Bobbie would often come by with samples of things that she had baked.
Jack and Bobbie Pew have been deceased for many years now, but it still warms my heart to think of how fortunate my family was to live next door to those exceptionally good neighbors.