Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blackberries where once was only thorns

 I live in a wonderful neighborhood with the kind of neighbors that everyone should have.  They are people who smile and wave, who see you are having problems and offer to help before you even get a chance to ask.  One of my neighbors was in his late 80's when we moved in, but had more energy than my husband and I put together.  Of course we moved in the two weeks between our sons' third and second birthdays and having two boys in the terrible twos can be fun, but is a good explanation for our depleted energy.  Anyway, this neighbor was amazing and often fixed our problems before we knew we had problems, like digging up and repairing a leaky water line while we were out of town visiting family, or replacing a broken pump on our well while we were at work.
 The only problem among the neighbors was a couple who lived so close that we could hear them sneeze in their living room if we both had our windows open.  Did I mention that on top of two toddlers, we had 12 parrots, two greyhounds and two cats?  The fact that we lived in an area with a two acre minimum didn't stop our homes from nearly touching.  We were not quiet neighbors I know, and she worked nights and tried to sleep in.

The problem is that she grew up in our house, and her parents owned both pieces of property, and built her trailer as a mother-in-law house so built it very close.  Then years later, split the property, sold the house and gave her the trailer and that 2 acres.  I am pretty sure she never stopped feeling like it all belonged to her, so resented everyone who lived in the house she grew up in.  And she was territorial and called the sherriff repeatedly if our birds screamed or we parked a tire on her half of the driveway or set our trash for collection day across a line that existed in her head.  She wasn't all nasty and at first out boys got along with her three kids, but then she got a harder job, with more pay and more stress, and their marriage started to fall apart, and they built a bigger house and then had the land foreclosed upon.  I can understand why she became so harsh and unhappy, but living next to her became a nightmare.
 By the time they moved out I was almost afraid to walk into my own front yard, for fear that she would be yelling in my face and flipping me the bird and once more calling a deputy to come mediate.  in fact her last act as she left was to tear down the fence between the properties, which she had always insisted was too far their direction.

Then they were gone and the house stood empty and the neighborhood healed.

This summer I stood on her old front walk, in front of a trailer nearly buried in blackberry vines, and picked enough berries to make three batches of Jelly, one cheesecake and three pies.  Enough to share with neighbors.

 Maybe I should feel sorry that she lost her home, maybe I should be sad to see the trailer in decay but for now I will share the peaceful neighborhood with the new people who moved in, who know how to smile and wave and share a driveway and some blackberry jam.

 So many stomach  churning nights I lay there wondering how to make peace and failing.
 So now it feels like karma took care of the problem for me, turned the bitterness into sweetness and covered over the old thorns with fresh, juicy, sweetly tart, blackberries

blackberry custard pie

and while I hope that her children and even that she has found peace.  I still look at the vines clogging the way into that trailer and breath in the blackberry scented air with a sigh of pleasure.

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