Sunday, April 25, 2010

Key day

In an hour or so we'll head over to a local home-improvement store to buy a lawn mower. From there we'll drop by the village diner and wait for 11am, when we'll pull a pair of brass keys from an envelope and unlock the front door of our new place.

I'm not sure what I'll feel in that moment -- relief, certainly, and probably a wave of stuff that I've suppressed over the last 18 months.

It's as hard to describe as it is to predict.

As we breakfasted on pancakes and sausage with our new neighbors yesterday morning, one of them popped a surprising question.

"Will you be leaving the clothesline up?" the elderly woman asked.

My wife and I looked at each other. "I don't see why not," I said. "Why do you ask?"

She explained, somewhat meekly, that the previous owner had allowed her to use it from time to time. We laughed, assuring her that the neighborly tradition would continue, and then I told the group a story.

Across the street from where we live now, in this pretentious planned development with wall-to-wall McMansions, one of the homeowners planted a small maple near the edge of his property. His neighbor, displeased, retaliated by trying to poison the tree.

When that didn't work, he hauled out a ladder and a saw and pruned the portion of the offensive planting that extended over his lawn -- I mean, he shaved the thing straight up from trunk to crown.

Since then, these two fifty-something men have engaged in litigation, suits and counter-suits, all over a little tree.

So when a fellow villager asks if she can use our clothesline...well, that's just fine with us.

We're going home today!