Thursday, October 28, 2010


Before I begin, let me just say one thing. When I lived in Texas, I learned that you can say anything about anybody, no matter what it is, as long as you finish it with "Bless his/her heart." Remember this for later.

This afternoon was interesting. I came home from work, having gotten the church newsletter finished just under the gun - as usual - ugh. What I wanted to do was come home and finish a little bit of creativity I'd started this morning. And I did. At least, I WAS working on it.

I heard the dog barking, so went out on the deck to see what was up. While out there, I heard the leaf blower of our "behind the church" neighbors going. That's not unusual, as they are out there almost every day blowing leaves. But today was different.

I know his name is Al because he used to own a flower shop called Flor-Al's. And one night at the Worcester Art Museum, I saw him there. Everyone was calling him Al. I heard him before I saw him; if he hadn't been making such efforts to be heard I probably wouldn't have given him a second thought. But the instant I saw him there, I knew it was my neighbor. It was very interesting to watch him - glad handing everyone and telling them how wonderful life is "now that I've sold the business and am teaching Spanish at St. John's!" I could not take my eyes off of this man. He was really having fun - and he wasn't even the star of the show! Part of me wanted to introduce myself to him, but after much thought on the matter, I decided it would be more fun to know so much about him with him not knowing me.

Anyway, this afternoon Al was out blowing leaves...again. Today he was working on their front lawn. What I noticed was that he was blowing all the leaves from their front lawn, across their driveway, and onto the church property - way past their driveway, so as to prevent them from blowing back onto their lawn. I watched in amazement for a bit, then went and walked over to where he could see me. He seemed surprised that I was standing there. I didn't know what to do, but was glad he had seen me watching. But it didn't stop him! Which made me madder...

I was raised that "Fair is Fair" and you can argue with me until I'm blue in the face, but you will never convince me that what he was doing was fair!

A few minutes later, I went back out. Without getting too close, I said to him (over the roar of the blower), "Would you mind not blowing the leaves onto the church lawn?" Without skipping a beat, he said to me, "These are YOUR leaves!" I started to reply, and he said, "These aren't MY leaves, they're YOURS!" Baffled, I muttered something under my breath that might have included the word "pig" but not so loud he could hear it. I came back home, dumbfounded. Shaking. Angry. Crazy with the difference between right and wrong.

So, our neighbor is a jerk. I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with a skunk, but I'd sure love to mail a box full of leaves to him! It saddens me to know that this man - who has never even tried to be neighborly with us - is such a jerk. It's his stuff, not mine. He's probably been blowing those leaves back onto the church lawn for years and never "been caught" before. Maybe our little interaction this afternoon will make him re-think his actions. I'm guessing not, and am still pretty upset about it, but like I said, I'm not going to start something I can't finish.

In reply I would like to say to my neighbor, FLOR-AL, that even though you are a jerk, I know that God loves you at least as much as God loves me. And that's really what baffles me. It just doesn't make sense. It just doesn't seem fair. Tonight in my dreams, I'll go outside and quietly rake all those leaves back onto your front lawn. I'll get up early and watch the look on your face when you realize what's happened. I'll laugh, knowing that you have been bitten with your own poison. And then I'll wake up and realize it was a dream and think, "Oh, well. It could have been fun. Bless his heart."

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