Not every visit with neighbors went smoothly.
Rick visited one of the larger landowner in the neighborhood, one who actually lived on his property.
Rick had just hit a garage sale next door next door to Carson's house when Rick saw Carson poking around in his back yard. Rick strolled over to say “Howdy.”
The conversation went into the septic tank almost from the get-go.
Rick knew for a fact that Tim, the disabled vet, was short of firewood so Rick asked “What would it take to have a neighbor come over and cut some of the dead wood in your swamp?”
“Why don’t you cut your own?” Carson asked.
“Not for me. For one of our neighbors.” Rick said.
“He can kiss my rosy-red ass.” Carson spat back.
Later, Rick shared the story with Kelly while they sampled some fine, Kentucky sippin’ whiskey. Kelly then told Rick about Davidson, Kelly’s dog.
Davidson is a Bluetick Hound and a hunting fool. Davey got out one evening and treed a coon on Carson’s property. Kelly went over to collect Davey when Carson came boiling out of his house. Kelly kept his cool and tried to explain what happened.
Carson “brandished” by making sure Kelly could see he was packing. Then Carson was in Kelly’s face the whole way off the property, threatening that he would file charges for trespassing.
The threats weren’t idle. Kelly found out there was a bench warrant out for him after a cop stopped him for speeding. In addition to the traffic ticket, Kelly lost a day of work and got popped for $350 in court fees to clear up the matter. Kelly was not a fan of Carson.
Rick was just shaking his head. He was trying to get ready for Armageddon and he was trapped in the meat-space equivalent of a Facebook pissing match. Petty politics and gossip were a big reason he chose to leave corporate American and join the gig economy.
Kelly changed the topic. “I’d like you to do me a favor.” he said.
“Whaddya need?” Rick said.
“I want to borrow one of your .22s...whatever model you have most of.” Kelly said.
Rick frowned. He knew that Kelly had no shortage of firearms.
And then Kelly winked.
There are times when it is not wise to ask questions.
“Sure. No problem.” Rick said.
Later that evening Rick shared what he learned with Kate. He had not anticipated open hostility when approaching neighbors.
Her reply was succinct. “You need a spoonful of sugar.”
“I beg your pardon?” Rick replied.
“Mary Poppins. ‘Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down.’ “ Kate lilted in her soprano.
“What do you suggest?” Rick asked.
“You could start cleaning out the root cellar. Come April we throw out three-quarters of the apples you put down there. Why don’t you make apple pies and leave them on porches. You can even blame me...tell them that I ‘made you’ do it.” Kate suggested.
That proposal solved a couple of problems and Rick figured it was worth a try. He fiddled around and came up with a cover letter to explain the pies (cleaning out the root cellar) and on his next trip to town he bought a hundred, folding pie boxes.
The next day he figured out how to make four pies at a crack.