On and On It Goes

Highway construction was the big news last year.  Errant drivers ignored the dead-end street sign and came through with everything from delivery vans to tour buses.

Normally a quiet neighborhood, this year two storms are brewing below the surface.

Notorious free-range pet parents are being sued for allowing their dogs to threaten–even bite people in the neighborhood.  What will come from this is unknown.  I hope relief is granted, and those in question will be forbidden from owning dogs.

The other problem–someone new to the neighborhood has been riding ATV’s on private lands and right-of-ways.  Muddy washouts will interfere with natural drainage and destroy wildlife habitat.  Some of this land is in a city park.  This can not be allowed to go on.

 

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The Neighborhood

Thankful it’s not colder than it is this morning.  Houses in the Deep South don’t take kindly to temperatures below the twenties.  There are no basements.  Water pipes run through attics and crawl spaces.

The Retired Old Farts Neighborhood Dog Walker’s Club, of which I am a member, is normally a peaceful group.  Trouble, when it happens, is usually caused by non-dog owners.

There weren’t any other dog walkers out this morning.  Of course, my spouse chimed in with, “There wasn’t anybody else crazy enough to walk in this cold weather.”  Before I retired, I worked outside in weather much colder than this.

Jack, real name not used, is a notorious, mercurial, neighborhood non-dog owner.  Rocky, however, is a real cocker spaniel.  It was a pleasant January day, when Jack, accompanied by his son, rolled up on his golf cart.

Without so much as a friendly hello–Jack went straight for the jugular.  “Why don’t you people walk your dogs through your own neighborhood?” Jack shouted.  “We’re tired of all the dog crap.”

Sam, blindsided–looked up from bagging Rocky’s droppings.  Rocky, his black cocker spaniel, was gentle, wouldn’t hurt a fly.  “This is a public street,” Sam answered–waited to see where the conversation led.

It was an unfair attack, from the same man that previously attempted to run down an unleashed nuisance dog, from a nearby trailer park, with his car.

Gizmo, the dog in question, was no longer around.  Problems arose when “free-range” owners let their dogs run loose.  Presently, there is a white pit bull, that roams freely after numerous complaints to the sheriff’s office.

Jack attempted to goad Sam into an argument.  Sam, wisely didn’t fall for it.  Jack’s flare-up blew away, just like the previous ones.

 

SYLVESTER, BIRD WATCHERS & THE RUMOR MILL

“Dammit!” Nellis Trueblood wiped dog excrement from his right foot.  Clad in house slippers, faded blue-plaid bathrobe, and pajamas, he bent over, retrieved the morning newspaper.  There were no secrets in the tight-knit community of Eastlake Meadows.  He had a good idea whose dog did this.  On the way back, Nellis rinsed off his slipper at the water spigot.

The feline triumvirate, Sylvester, Sam, and Sweetie waited in the kitchen; it was feeding time.  Sweetie weaved in and out between his legs.  Sylvester, a black and white “Tuxedo” cat, as always, dominated the food bowl.  Nellis read the paper and ate breakfast.  Since his wife Melba died, he seldom smiled.tuxedo 2

Was that the distinctive sound of a lawnmower–in the middle of January?  What neighborhood lamebrain mowed their lawn in winter?  Couldn’t they wait till spring?  A white lawn maintenance truck parked at the Finney’s, two doors down.  It was either tenacity or stupidity–he wasn’t sure which?

Nellis settled back in his brown, burnished leather, living room chair–newspaper and coffee close at hand.  He thumbed through the sports section, police blotter, and community news.  He stopped in amazement on page five.  HIs lips moved as he read aloud, “Alderman Cavanaugh, from Ward 4, proposed an ordinance requiring pets to be leashed at all times when outside–even cats.  Furthermore, cat owners would pay an annual license fee.  The issue was tabled, pending a public hearing next month.”

His jaw dropped in disbelief.  “If they pass this, I’m not gonna’ do it!  They can haul me straight to jail!  I’m knee-high in dog shit and they’re gonna’ leash cats?  What’s next?  …Leashes on parakeets?  …Licensed goldfish?  What’s with those idiots down at city hall?”  He was shouting; all the cats, except Sylvester, ran away and hid.  This couldn’t be happening, it just couldn’t be–or, could it?

Mr. Trueblood’s semi-reclusive existence was broken, by occasional visits to the senior center.  During a recent spirited pinochle game, Nellis, in an attempt at black humor, remarked to his neighbor, Harold Finney, “Harold, I need to put up more bird feeders.”  “Are you taking up bird watching?”  Harold asked–waited for the punch line.  “No, my cats need more exercise and plenty of fat birds to eat.”  The little group of guys guffawed in thigh-slapping laughter.

The joke didn’t stop there.  Doris, Harold’s wife, was an avid bird watcher.  She didn’t think it was the least bit funny.  In fact, she was horrified.  Had Doris and her bird watching club influenced Alderman Cavanaugh?  Nellis Trueblood had little doubt.  There was chilled resolve in the air.  They’ll certainly hear from me at the next meeting.  Nellis Bascombe Trueblood never walked away from a fight!  Sylvester licked his front paws, watched from a vantage point near the potted croton.