In a Sow’s Ear 8-3-09
Neighbor – defined by the dictionary as a fellow citizen or, one living near another. Neighborhood is described as people living near one another.
For me, neighbors once meant the folks who live a mile down the road and across the creek on the north, and the two ranches three and five miles farther along on the county road to the west.
You get the idea. Country living used to mean that if any vehicle, horse or four-wheeler came trucking, trotting or driving down your road, you expected a visitor, the propane tank man or a neighbor rancher looking for escaped critters.
Not so any more. Property everywhere “Out West” is being sucked up by developers who sell off chunks to wealthy individuals from the cities. At this point, you may think I’m going to complain about developers. Not so. I’m going to complain about the newcomer neighbors who purchased a hundred acres of land bordering the Yellowstone River adjacent to me. They built a starter mansion they refer to as a “cabin.” Its roofline scratches the sky. They chose to erect their monument to affluence on a high bluff directly across from my cracker box dwelling. Sigh.
It’s the way of “progress.” The new neighbors are so happy. They have a lovely view of the Yellowstone River. Their front porch – inlaid with smooth, flat stones – hosts their barbecue unit. Windows bigger than Bette Davis’ eyes allow them to behold all south of them, west of them, north of them and east of them.
Stepping out on my deck I looked to the left and there! To my horror someone was standing on his deck looking my way! I’m used to sitting outside in the morning while perusing a book and drinking coffee. Sometimes I’m not garbed in a tasteful manner. What was I to do? Wave? Move to town and have neighbors on purpose?
What to do, what to do. First I had two small storage sheds moved and repositioned next to the division fence thus blocking my having to look at the neighbor’s house. It wasn’t enough. So, I had one of those tin-sided garages erected to obstruct more possible eyeballing. And still, it wasn’t sufficient. So I hitched up my horse trailer and parked it at the corner of the garage at just the right angle to prevent any ogling from Mr. Starter Mansion and family.
I’m still working on the situation. It seems Mr. Neighbor has decided he must decorate the gateposts on either side of the cattleguard between our two properties. He has duct-taped a flag on each post. From my kitchen window I can see them flapping in the breeze. I think the flags are spelling in Morse code: “Look at Me! Look at Me!”
In addition he has nailed up a No Trespassing sign because, he claims, someone “jimmied” the door to his garage. I know this as he stopped by to tell me why he put up the sign. (Hmmm … In 50 years I’ve never locked anything except my keys inside the pickup once or twice. I’m two miles off the county road out of sight … Mr. Neighbor moves in and suddenly …)
Are you wondering what I’m going to do about the flags? Nothing. The winds around here are so strong, they’re being “farmed.” Already one flag is canting like the leaning tower of Pisa.
Are you wondering what I’m going to do about the No Trespassing sign? Nothing. It’s a cardboard sign; it’s been raining and blowing for two days.
Are you wondering if I’m going to undertake any action? Glad you asked. Tomorrow, my friend, Sandy, a hunter and outfitter, is bringing some critter skulls. Couple of bighorn sheep, couple of elk, maybe a steer or two. We’re going to have a gatepost and fence-decorating party.