Being a Neighbor

If you're a word lover like me then you probably know what etymology is, and more than likely you get excited about the origin of words (by the way, that's what etymology means). Neighbor is a word I've been thinking about, especially in the context of the brewpub we're planning to build. Because we want to open a neighborhood pub, we will have to be neighborly. We want Yellow City Co-op Brewpub to be a place where people get together and discover who their neighbors are.

So what is a neighbor exactly? Strictly speaking a neighbor is someone who is close in proximity. The word comes from the Old English words "nigh" (near) and "dower" (dweller). A neighbor is a near-dweller. As a definition of the word this is decidedly a let-down however accurate it is. When I was a kid we thought of neighbors as anybody within walking distance of our house, especially people on the same street. The boy a block down was a neighbor, and so were the three brothers next door, who we called the "nextdoorneighbors" as if that was one word. Proximity was relative. What made them a neighbor was our interaction – playing baseball, riding bikes, swimming. It didn’t matter if they were from Japan or from the house across the street, we were neighbors for the day.

At Yellow City Co-op Brewpub though, we want you to think about the idea of a neighbor like that. Our brewpub will be a place for neighbors, both in the traditional sense (bring your nextdoorneighbor for dinner) and in the just-as-important relative sense. The guy on the stool next to you is your neighbor, and so is the bartender. They are your neighbors because they are people too, people within hearing distance who you can engage in conversation.

At Yellow City Co-op we propose to expand the definition of neighbor. Whenever you come in our doors you will be in a room with a whole group of neighbors. These neighbors are fellow Amarillo residents as well as visiting citizens of other cities. They are Americans and they are foreigners. Some of them are like you - similar politics, comparable values, familiar backgrounds. Some of them are very different from you. In fact, some of them are so different from you that the only time you might ever see them is in the pub. But that's fine, because for the hour or two that you're in our brewpub you will be neighbors.

So let's take the word neighbor into our own hands and make it bigger. Let's be willing to meet our neighbors wherever we find them. Let's be the community we want to be.

- Colin Cummings, President of the Board