Editor's note: This is the first in an occasional series about good neighbors in East County. If you know someone who is an especially good neighbor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just minutes after the moving van is in the driveway, we are greeted with a tray of muffins and coffee.
That was nearly 15 years ago, and since then we have continued to be treated, spoiled, looked after and helped out -- a lot.
Shorty and Debbie Shelton are amazingly giving neighbors, the kind you can't order up no matter how great your area.
It didn't take long for the Sheltons to become our go-to sources and lovely friends. Soon, we exchanged house keys and were watching each others' homes during vacations.
They were the first neighbors we told about being pregnant, and several years later, they "hired" our daughter to dog sit -- paying well above scale but refusing any treats or payment for anything they did for us.
We're home improvement-challenged. And, so we're grateful that Shorty steps up to that plate for us every single time he's asked.
The list is ridiculously long but includes fixing a gate, tweaking the fence, redoing a water faucet, gluing floor tile, supplying electrical fuses, assembling furniture, repairing bikes and more; much more.
That list should also include the occasional grocery item, which they always have on hand. I've threatened to just shop at their house instead of our area store. When our washer broke, we finished laundry in their home. When I threw a huge surprise party for my husband, they let me stash the numerous goods in their fridge and garage.
But more than a beautifully helping hand, our neighbors are genuine in their conversations, generous in their interest in our lives and uber dependable.
Born Gordon Shelton, the Antioch native graduated from AHS in 1966. Their home is often full, as he and Debbie regularly socialize with their large circle of friends and devoted family.
Many of their gatherings include their grandchildren, and often they invite our Sofia to join in the fun, which can include making s'mores in their backyard.
Shelton moved to his current house in 1978, making him one of the first two to hit Ashley Way.
They are legendary for their once over-the-top Halloween offerings. For years, the retired butcher would go all out, covering his front yard in "caskets," pigs' heads and other shiver-inducing décor.
Married for 28 years, Debbie Shelton said she is always volunteering her husband.
"He truly likes to help and to keep busy."
When asked if his generous spirit was a draw when they first met, she said, "I did fall in love with his giving nature, which he continues to have with his children, grandchildren and, of course, me."
Fellow neighbor Debbie Vickery is also a big fan of the Sheltons, naming off a long list of deeds done for her family, including "returns dog to our yard consistently, neighborhood watch leader, likes kids, always waves and chats, loans camping gear, practical and helpful, and aware and watchful."
Modest about how much he offers the area and his neighbors, he simply said "I have always enjoyed helping others. When others started moving in, I (just) tried to help."
Note: I've shared a story about my good neighbor, now it's your turn. Send me an email and tell me a little bit about what makes your neighbor a special person to live near. I'm looking forward to hearing some great tales and putting those special folks in the newspaper spotlight.
Reach Trine Gallegos at TrineG@att.net.