I've lived in this house for 18 years, and for the most part have been blessed with great neighbors. Believe me, they've been tested. With the 2 dogs and 7 cats ( It's painful to admit that in writing ) roaming the premises, my neighbors have been the best, never complaining and often sharing, to our horror, little anecdotes of how a particular cat of ours hopped on my neighbor Bill's shoulder while he was relaxing on his deck reading the Sunday paper, or how Ginger, our dog, scratched at their door late at night begging for a dog bone.
A few years ago, my neighbor to our right moved. We were sad to see them go as they were just the nicest couple ever. In their place a single woman moved in.
She seemed nice but she kept to herself more then the previous owners had, but she did inform us one time that she put a bowl of cat food on her back deck so our cats could have a snack during the day, if they felt they needed an energy boost. We all know what taxing days cats have to endure.
Because she seemed like quite the animal person, I wouldn't think twice about opening my front door and letting our 2 dogs loose, free to roam the area like wild horses on the prairie. I like to think I did that for the dogs sake, let them be free, untethered. But in all honesty, I did it because I am a lazy dog owner and didn't want to walk them around the yard every time they wanted to go out.
Anyway, life was good, until The Letter arrived.
Our neighbor, who we affectionately call, well, it sounds like witch, wasn't as enamored with our canine family members as I had thought.
I found it strange to receive a letter from her given the fact that we live 50 ft apart. We used to smile and wave at each other, pretending we were the best of friends, about 3 times a week. Maybe if she emailed or twitted me I would have taken it better, but she snail mailed me. The nerve of some people.
In her letter she let it be known she was not a big fan of my philosophy of letting the dogs run free. She reminded me of the local law stating that all dogs must be on a leash if they are outside, and she was considerate enough to include the website I could read to brush up on my doggie rules. That was nice.
So, since I am very childish at times, I responded with a snail mail letter of my own, thanking her for pointing out my short comings as a dog owner. I also thanked her for the gift, a tree she mistakenly planted on my property months earlier which I had ignored until now. I like trees. I included a website where she can research property lines in our area. I hope she was thankful.
I'm reminded of this story because yesterday I was cutting my grass, riding along on my lawn tractor when I came across a branch on the ground, which I picked up and just tossed out of the way. I noticed it landed on my neighbors lawn, just over our property line. I made a mental note to go pick it up. I was afraid of another scathing letter, but I forgot all about it.
This morning I was walking my dog, ON A LEASH, and I noticed the previously mentioned branch, was back in my yard. I thought to myself, this could be fun! I stared at that branch, wondering what to do. My first thought, throw it back in her yard and see how long we could keep playing that game until the branch broke apart in little pieces, all the while waving and smiling to each other from afar. No, I thought, that's childish. My next thought was to stick it in the ground, right on our border, so it looks like it's waving to her. I can't do that.
I started to walk away when I pictured myself using that branch to start a little bonfire, right on our property line. I decided not to do that, afraid she would send me a notice sighting our township ordinance concerning open fires.
I just smiled to myself, turned and went in the house for another cup of coffee.
Maybe I'm all grown up?