Alabama Street neighbors have history, stories together

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 19, 2006

VIDALIA &8212; The pace of life has slowed a little on Alabama Street over the last 32 years.

The children are gone, the trees are taller and there&8217;s a for-sale sign across the street.

But the atmosphere is the same &8212; friendly.

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And Sunday nights still pass by best in the company of neighbors.

Malcolm and Bunny Barlow head next door to Bobby and Nell Lowe&8217;s house, pull up a lawn chair and discuss the world. Sometimes other neighbors join in.

&8220;It&8217;s like a family gathering, to catch up on all the gossip and news,&8221; Bobby said.

This Sunday they mapped out a plan for removing troops from Iraq, talked about an upcoming grandchild&8217;s graduation and reviewed the morning&8217;s church events.

The group has always talked, but their gatherings have changed some, Malcolm Barlow said. When the children were young, the parents met in passing on the road to catch up. They walked to the ballpark, or met at other events for their children.

At one point in history, they&8217;d make ice cream in the yard, a tradition that fell to the ease of just buying it.

And they have their funny stories, like the time a yard of the month sign landed in the Barlow&8217;s slightly overgrown yard. Bunny still suspects Bobby.

&8220;At least I think it was him that did it,&8221; she said. &8220;I don&8217;t know. That was at least 15 years ago.&8221;

After all the years, everyone still speaks, Bobby pointed out, and no one is ready to leave.

&8220;It&8217;s a very quiet neighborhood,&8221; Nell said. &8220;A very safe neighborhood.&8221;

&8220;It&8217;s quiet and everybody gets along,&8221; Malcolm said. &8220;It&8217;s just a nice neighborhood.&8221;

And they have history together.

&8220;We saw their youngest child grow up from an infant,&8221; Bobby said. &8220;We have all been neighbors for 32 years.&8221;