When the boy was 11, his next-door neighbor asked if he would water the plants while she was away on vacation. When she returned, one of the plants had died, and she chastised the boy, blaming the plant's demise on his neglect. She might even have paid him less than promised because of it. The boy's mother got angry, and the two women had a heated exchange.
That boy is now nearly 40, and the two next-door neighbors are now both in their mid-60's. They have not spoken to each other since. The mother talks about the neighbor lady and the wrong she believes was perpetrated against her son. She continues to add more misdeeds to her decades-old laundry list of complaints.
Yesterday, on a lovely Saturday, starting at about 7:15 a.m., the woman who had gone on vacation -- I'll call her Neighbor B -- had workers at her house, power washing her back deck and making a racket. The work went on all day long. At about 5:30 p.m., when I was (thankfully) talking with my colleague on the phone, the angry mother -- Neighbor A -- came over to our house. She was letting us know that she had called the police. She complained to my husband for about 10 minutes. My phone call (again, thankfully) lasted throughout that exchange.
Why had she called the police, you wonder? Because local ordinance apparently dictates "construction activities" on Saturdays have to be between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Sundays or "official federal national holidays," no construction is allowed.
Hard as it might be to believe, the police actually came out to Neighbor B's house and put the kibosh on the work.
We're having a tree trimmed today, Sunday. That could likely be interpreted as construction activities. It's a big-ass tree and, although there won't be any chainsaws, there will be lots of sawing and, eventually, a chipper. Now, we walk the fine line of getting along with both of these women, the obviously-on-edge Neighbor A and the very friendly Neighbor B. But what do you bet one (or both) of them will end up calling the cops to make a point?
[Photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP]