Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota.
We live on a very “married” block/street. It was that way when we moved here in 1988 and it remains the same, although “married” status has changed to “widowed” for a couple of the residents. Of the twelve houses that line both sides of the street on our block, ten are owned by couples and two by widows. There has been very little turnover as well. Gary and Sue, Ken and Rhonda, Elsie and Leonard, the Maershbeckers, the Knopics, the Lenos, the Kovashes, the Dvoraks, and us have lived quietly and politely close to one another for more than two decades, (but not too close), admiring each other’s lawns, vehicles, gardens , flowers, and children, visiting in a neighborly way, keeping mostly to ourselves but knowing lots of things about all the others while pretending to mind our own business.
It used to be that the sight of a police car on the block signaled that someone had found a stray dog and had called the city to come and take the animal home. Things got more dramatic a couple of years ago when Ludwig and Martha died. They were a sweet old couple with thick Czech accents who lived directly across the street from us. The Knopics, who lived a few houses south, bought Ludwig and Martha’s home and sold their home to a couple in their late 30’s, oil field people with an aggressive Dachshund and no children. They are not a quiet couple. They are heavy drinkers who argue and taunt each other loudly and publicly in the front yard, and who have visits from the police. He has been in the local paper in the District Court proceedings, convicted of simple assault. He always ends up back home and then we see them washing their vehicles, trimming the hedges and mowing the lawn as though nothing has happened.
It has been quite a while since the police have been called or he has shown up in the paper. I was tickled the other day to see them in their front yard, each with a lariat, roping a horned metal steer head. They looked really happy and were encouraging and giving pointers to each other. I wondered if they were participating in team roping, which is a pretty popular sport out here. If so, I can’t think of a more appropriate activity for a heavy drinking couple who ends up in slugfests. If you are going to win you have to be sober and you have to communicate well with your partner. Maybe they can refine their technique by trying to rope the Dachshund. I don’t do marital therapy, but if I did, I might recommend lassoes and metal steer heads as tools to find marital bliss.
What sort of hobby helps keep the peace at home?