The Return of the Good Neighbors

I’m sitting back in my favorite Adirondack chair on our deck.  Every so often, a kayak or canoe paddles past our dock.  I can hear them but can just barely see them.  I have to do some trimming to clear the view to the water.  I thought about doing this a few weeks ago, when the weather was mild, but it meant I would have to decide which chainsaw to use; the electric one or the old gas job.  I couldn’t decide so I’ll think about it this winter and decide next June.

I’m snuggled in my L.L.Bean Fleece Jacket.  It’s green and cost about $48.00, but that includes free shipping so I really think I got a steal.

As I sit back, I contemplate my large tomato plant.  I counted close to thirty-five tomatoes.  None of this matters, of course, because they will never ripen.  The growing season up here in northern New York State ended about two months ago.  My tomatoes look like mutant Granny Smith apples.  I’m bummed out about the whole thing.

A few minutes ago, I was down in my office.  It’s actually a “Man Cave”.  I even put several very masculine items about the room to remind visitors that it’s really a “man cave” and not just an office.  I have a hammer.  A book by Hemingway and a birch bark waste basket…nothing that would be found in a “ladies boudoir”, if you get my drift.  I think I even have a copy of a Playboy magazine hidden somewhere, but I can’t find it.

I write my books in this room.

Back up on the deck, I think about my new novel.  I have dialogue and plot twists to figure out.  And setting. Setting is very important when you write a novel.  How else was the reader know where all the plot stuff was happening.  I should go back downstairs and write.  Earlier, I sat there at my iMac and did some thinking.  Then I realized I had some things to do.  Like write.

I stared at the 17″ (diagonal) screen.  But wait!  I had things more pressing to take care of.  My novel could wait a few minutes.  I had already counted my paper clips so that was done.  It occurred to me that I needed to rearrange my sand collection.  I couldn’t decide whether to sort them by geographical location or color.  I figured that location was the best choice because, if truth be told, they all kind of looked alike.  Scattered volumes of the poetry of Rod McKuen needed to be lined up together in a neat row.  I was so proud of them.  Also on my “to do” list was downloading the entire songbook of Yanni, King of the Pan Flute.  Then, of course, I had to begin on researching my projected two-part bio on “Milli Vanilli: The Early Years”.

Yes, there was an afternoons worth of hard work to do in the “Man Cave”.   So, I went back to the deck to think about all these things while sitting in my Adirondack, looking at my failed tomato harvest.

I settled back and began to drift while listening to the neighbor deftly handle his leaf blower.  The guy on the other side of my property was just getting his chain saw started.  It was going to be a perfect napping time.

Before I knew it, I was fast asleep and deep into a dream.  I had just won second prize in a “Think You Can Dance With The Stars?” segment.  My partner was Lady Gaga and our “routine” was pairs clog dancing.  As the creative leader of the duo I felt the need to ratchet up our demonstration.  So I took Gaga aside and asked her to add a short yodel piece.  She broke down in tears and left the set.  Gaga can be testy sometimes.  How was I to know that her first husband ran off with a Swiss sheep herder?

It was about that time when I was pulled from my slumber by a familiar “chink, chink”.  It was the unmistakable sound of a chisel on stone.  I went through the house and there they were.  Our neighbors from Ohio had returned from a wedding in Newport.  Darcy was back to work on our (his) stone walkway.  I just didn’t understand the necessity of all that work.  After all, I had already put a new sidewalk in last Fall.  I thought the railroad ties looked great.  It was only after several lady friends got their spike heels stuck in between the ties that my wife made me rip them out.


I looked at the progress Darcy was making and began to come around to the general thinking that the stone pieces were the way to go.  But, no one was going to pull anything over on me.  I had gone out during the night and checked the flat stones with a level.  They were perfect.  Just the thing to have as a base for my 30′ x 26″ strip of Astroturf.  I had it all figured out.

Don’t think that I didn’t take part in the labor.  I actually spent several minutes gathering the chips of chiseled rock and put them in a plastic bucket.  I’ll find a use for them somewhere.  Up here in the North Country, a man has to use everything…nothing goes to waste.

When it was finished, we all celebrated with a nice home cooked dinner.  My son, Brian and his girlfriend, Kristin were visiting.  He told bold tales of how he defied all his friends and co-workers in New York City and actually attended a Mets game at Citifield.  ( I raised my son to be strong and brave.)

When everyone left and the activity settled down, I found that I was the only one awake at 3:00 AM.

It was the perfect time for me to got down to my workshop and double-check that I had the correct amount of green paint.  I didn’t want anyone to comment on the ugly swirls of color in the stonework.

I wanted it to be just like a giant lawn.


When my wife and I drive through Ohio (really can’t help it), on our way home from Tacoma, I’m going to see how I can fix up Darcy’s property to really look good.

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