Objects of Fascination

It happened again. Husband and I were weeding in the front yard veggie garden when a car pulled up and the driver got out. He introduced himself as a new neighbor from down the block. Then,  he asked the inevitable question “What are those”?

By “those” he was referring to our metal bean poles. We regularly  get questions about them, what is growing on them, and why we use them.  It surprises me that those poles and their beans are such objects of wonder for people.  I like answering the inquiries.  I told the 3 and 5 year old neighbor children that they are the beans from “Jack and the Beanstalk”,  and that they should keep  a eye out for giants. They tell me excitedly whenever I see them that they are. Sometimes I tell people we use them to communicate with aliens. Some realize I am joking. Others just give me an odd look. Keep them guessing, I say!

What do you wonder about your friends, neighbors, and relations that you are are afraid to ask?

47 thoughts on “Objects of Fascination”

  1. I come from a politically divided family, and I will never, ever ask how those who I know differ from my views voted in 2016. I just can’t know.

    I also wonder who exactly is really “living” at the house that was my late, great neighbors. It’s really odd to go from coming and going in and out of that yard (and being all over the house from time to time as she wanted my help with something) pretty much as I pleased for years, to not even being sure who all is living there.

    Talked at length on Saturday with the guy on the other side (the annual ag report we seem to do), not a clue as to his last name.

    And of course, your Morning Show song cue:

    Liked by 8 people

  2. There is a neighbor across the street that I have ever met. (I believe it’s an older couple…but having never met them, I can’t be sure.) They use a service to keep their lawn tidy, and the same service in the winter to shovel the walks, so they are never out front puttering in the yard. They have a picture window, but the shades are almost always drawn. There is a small chair on their front stoop…and no one ever sits in it. Their next-door neighbors see them from time to time out back, but even they say that is a very rare sighting.

    I can’t say as I know all the other neighbors on the block (especially the ones at the other end from me – I’m close to a corner), but I do wonder how it is that in 17 years of living here, I think I can count on one hand the times I have seen non-lawn service people outside of the house. No visitors at the holidays (well, maybe once or twice), no light on for trick-or-treaters at Halloween. Nothing wrong with keeping to yourself or not wanting to chat with the neighbors – though I do fret about how would anyone know if something happened to one of the occupants of the house? As the child of an elderly parent (who is grateful to have more than her brother and me checking in on Mom), I hope they have someone who is checking in on them…

    Liked by 4 people

  3. i walk the dog and see the neighbors houses and get an idea of who lives there but it’s 2 years and 2 neighborhood gathering that has introduced me to most of my neighbors

    a surprising number of progressives in a heavy red area. i am grateful.

    i am afraid of asking about trump because it always makes my blood boil. why introduce cancer to any conversation except that not to seems like negligence

    it’s the media’s fault

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    The neighbor behind our house we have dubbed “Crabby Pants Jane.” She disappeared for about 6 months last year, along with the two dogs she once kept. She fenced the back yard that resembles the thorns and thickets of the Snow White castle of myth. She planted trees all around the perimeter of the property 20 years ago (some were planted on our property line, so we removed them after she refused to amend the problem. We checked city ordinances that said we could do so). She spent hours in the back yard behind the trees with the two dogs, one of whom was named “Peaches.” I have forgotten the other dog’s name.

    She displayed paranoid characteristics for years, screaming at children who would wander over her property line, glaring at her adult neighbors, and generally warding off any friendly neighbor relationship. Our theory is she finally had a mental health crisis, was hospitalized for the 6 months in question, and the dogs were removed by someone. She is back now, without the dogs. She still does not talk to us, nor will she mow the strip of her property that backs up to ours, so Lou mows it to reduce problems there. She recently hired someone to install cable TV wires and was in her backyard then, but she has since disappeared inside the trees, to watch Cable TV I suppose.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I want to know from my mother’s youngest cousin what it was like growing up with her abusive father, my grandfather’s brother. There are secrets there .

    I would also like to know which of the two brothers who live next door to us hid drug paraphernalia in the fence that divides our properties. I’ve known them since they were tiny. I hope that they are sweating bullets since we found it and tossed it in the garbage.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My neighbors have a double lot, because they bought the house next door and tore it down. They kept the garage from the other house, so they have two garages and two long driveways. Often there is a giant truck parked in the far driveway, the sort of truck that would be driven by someone who uses it to make a livelihood.

    The wife of the couple has grown children from her previous marriage, and I sort of assumed for awhile that it was her son that drove the truck and was stopping by for a visit when in town. But over the winter, I notice that the truck runs a lot during the night. It starts up, runs for a half hour or so, then the engine stops, then in an hour or so it starts up, over and over again. I suppose there must be someone living in it, and the truck probably has to run to provide heat. But it seems awfully strange – does someone manually start the truck each time? Or is it on some sort of timer? Either way, it doesn’t seem like a very restful way to spend the night. And if the truck’s driver is her relative, wouldn’t she just have him sleep in the house? The house certainly seems big enough. Maybe the trucker isn’t a friend or relative but someone who pays them to be able to park his truck at their place…? Is there a bathroom in it?

    I wonder, then I tell myself that I should probably just mind my own business.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oh my god, Linda, that’s the kind of mystery Hans would have spent major time on solving. Chances are, I wouldn’t have even noticed. Poor eyesight and hearing can be a blessing.

      That said, I appreciate that being observant about what’s going on in your neighborhood can be a good thing. I was sorry to hear that Home Street Home on George Street has closed, but can’t say that I’m all that surprised.

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    2. Of course, I can’t answer the questions about your neighbors, Linda. But people living in vans and trucks has become common all across the country in response to the shortage of affordable housing.

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    3. I know a homeless man D. here who lives out of his van, which his son bought for him. Daughter refuses to let D. in her house, so Son let him park it back by the garage one winter… At least we have a homeless shelter during the cold months, where he can go for the coldest nights if he wants to.

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    4. Oo! Oo! I have a story about people living in a truck!
      I may have told this a few years ago when it happen, but it’s time to come back. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂

      Several years ago. Kelly leaves for work about 7AM. I think it’s March. Snow and cold, not extreme, just average March weather.

      She calls shortly after leaving and says there’s a truck parked in the middle of the woods. It’s running but there’s no one around. (The township road, 40th Ave, goes through a grove of trees and we call it “The Woods”. 40th Dead ends and splits to our private drive and our neighbors private drive.)
      I would be leaving soon with daughter so i said I’d check it out.
      And yes, this vehicle is parked sideways in the road. Like they did a three point turn but stopped after two. There’s room to get around and I do and I park and then go look inside the truck. I see bare feet, bare legs, mans bare crotch — and I turn around and go back to the car. He’s naked. And I call the deputies. Give the license plate and wait. Daughter can be late to school – this is important!
      And then I think – was he still breathing?? Yeah, I’m sure I saw his chest move. It didn’t really register; my mind went numb once I saw his crotch, but yeah… I’m pretty sure he was breathing. Two sheriff deputies arrive. I’m parked 100 yards up the road. The deputies tap on the truck window. I see the guy getting dressed in the truck, get out and go around and get in the passenger side. And then the truck drives away and I think ‘Well That’s odd’… and as it passes me THERE’S A WOMAN DRIVING! And I said “WHAT???”
      And I talk with the deputies. The couple is well known; they’ve had some minor drug violations and parking issues. And I ask “Where was the woman??” Laying in the passenger seat. She was naked too. Huh. I completely missed her.
      I’d be a terrible eye witness.

      I call Kelly to fill her in. She’s away from her desk. So I text her: “Well. He’s naked.”
      By the time she calls me back, everyone in the office is gathered around to desk to hear the story.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I remember you telling that story, Ben, and it’s just as wonderful the second time around. I especially love that you live in a small enough community that people know each other, and that these two are well known.

        Liked by 2 people

    5. There’s a truck parked there now. It’s not running, just sitting there. I don’t think it’s the same truck that was there last winter – it seems to me that one was blue and white, but I could be wrong. Like Ben, I’d be a terrible witness. Here’s a photo of the current occupant of the driveway –
      truck

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I think I told this story once years ago, but here goes…
    I was out walking the dog one morning and about two blocks from home, my attention was drawn to a pickup truck, its hood open, in the driveway in front of the garage, by the sound of Ernest Tubb playing on the truck radio. Bent under the hood and partially obscured by the truck was a guy, sort of grizzled, pot belly, untucked heavy flannel shirt and jeans. As I walked by, he stepped away from the truck, walking toward the house and I noticed that he was wearing red high heel shoes.
    A story there, I suspect.

    Liked by 7 people

  8. There is a house next door to the one directly across the alley that may or may not have someone living in it. It’s so run down at this point that it looks irredeemable. In fifteen years, I’ve only seen a person associated with it twice and both times it was a guy in the garage. Also in the garage is a vintage Ford Mustang.
    I’ve never noticed lights or activity in the house itself and absolutely no maintenance has taken place in the time I’ve lived here. Strangely, the lawn is not overgrown but I’ve never seen anyone mow it. When does it happen?
    If someone lives there, how can he let it deteriorate so completely? Parts are literally falling off. If no one lives there, why hasn’t it been sold or torn down? Even empty lots in the city are valuable.

    Also, on the corner at the start of the next block, there is a house where the occupant has planted a solid wall of arbor vitae around the perimeter, excluding the double garage which stands outside the barrier. Those arbor vitae are about twenty feet tall. You can’t see the house at all. It must be really dark in there. What’s his story, I wonder.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. A couple of times, I’ve noticed purported businesses in the neighborhood that had no obvious means of support. It makes you wonder what the real business is. One was a garage that was never open to the public, yet always had a few cars parked around it. That one disappeared in an explosion and fire late one night. Someone ultimately went to jail for arson and insurance fraud.
    There’s another business that presents itself as a creative space for young children. The building used to be a car repair shop and the owners went to undoubtedly great expense to transform that grubby place into a clean and brightly colored space with elaborate paving and a large rain garden. It’s an attractive replacement for the auto repair shop but my question is, what’s the business plan? They don’t appear to offer classes. It’s not child care—the children are required to be accompanied by an adult. It operates on a drop-in basis and simply offers space and some basic materials for, I assume, some nominal fee. I never see groups of people there, nor would I expect to because what part of that can’t you do at home? The place has been open for a couple of years now and I still haven’t figured out how it can stay in business.

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    1. A few years ago, a small corner grocery store near our house was sold. It had been closed down by the health inspectors for numerous violations. It’s a pretty dilapidated old store, and it had been on the market for a few years when it finally sold in an all cash transaction. Since then nothing has happened to the property, no activity whatsoever, but with some regularity stolen cars are parked in front of the property. My imagination isn’t good enough to figure out why someone would abandon stolen cars repeatedly in the same place. That doesn’t make sense to me. What am I missing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It might make sense to abandon the cars at a place that isn’t associated with anyone and, since the business is closed, where there’s predictably an empty spot to park. Probably it’s the same car thief and probably the thief is close enough to where he needs to go—home or wherever—to walk from there, but far enough that the abandoned car can’t be linked to him.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Cars are often stolen to use in drug deals. When they are done, they just leave the car somewhere handy. They had their use if it and do not bare about what happens to it anymore.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I suspected that drugs were involved somehow. Oddly enough, it’s at a pretty visible intersection, but perhaps that’s exactly why it’s chosen. But it seems to me it would be an easy place to set up some surveillance cameras.

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  10. I’m wondering where all of the squatters from next door have gone. Tommy, the fifty year old son of the late owners, who has never held a paying job in his life, and who seems to view the County Workhouse as an occasional vacation retreat; his twenty year old daughter, Tina, and her eight month old child. Lena, Tommy’s forty-five year old sister, who has been fighting drug addiction unsuccessfully for years, and who hasn’t held a job in ages; the stray assortment of Tommy’s and Lena’s adult children who are equally rootless and ill equipped to fend for themselves and their offspring. Where have they all gone? How are they getting by? Is it just a matter of time before they move back in?

    I know that Lena for a substantial portion of the last two years has found shelter by breaking into unoccupied houses and staying there until someone reported her to the authorities. She somehow manages to have a beat up old car, a cell phone, and by the looks of it, plenty to eat. She also manages to get her hands on sufficient drugs to feed her addiction.

    It breaks my heart to see Tina proudly show off her eight month old daughter, knowing full well that Tina can’t take care of herself. Tina is Tommy’s only daughter. Two of her four brothers have fathered children which, of course, they leave it to the mothers to fend for. Tina doesn’t have that luxury. It’s a vicious cycle, and there’s no end in sight.

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  11. I’d kind of like to get to know the guy next door and across the alley, but he has no interest. Met other neighbors at an alley party last summer, and for the most part have no desire to know more, with two exceptions. We run into a woman teacher a few doors down and across alley, who ushers at events like Beethoven and Shakespeare fests, and has come to our Song Circle once or twice. And a woman Michael knew back in the 70s lives on the other end of alley, has every inch of yard and boulevard space covered with masses of flowers, and brings us garlic.

    Um… what was the question again?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! They are Hidatsa beans and Vermont Cranberry beans. We shell them when they are still fresh, parboil them, freeze and seal them, and use them in soup and chili in the winter.

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  12. We think it’s funny because if we meet one of our neighbors he always says “Where ya going? What’tcha doing?” No secrets there I guess.
    And once, when I was on the phone while Kelly talked to him he asked if there was a “Lighting emergency”? Why yes there was, but how random of him to ask.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. We were at a memorial service yesterday that doubled as a family picnic. A cousin had died. He had a rough life too; more than I can ever know because I didn’t have much to do with him.
    And Kelly and I talked about perception; mine of him, his sisters of him, his parents of him, his mom of me, me of his dad… and it’s pretty unlikely any of us shared the same perception.

    Liked by 3 people

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