I often lament about living in a “different” part of the country – the South – way down South, as in almost to the Gulf of Mexico. I didn’t always live here. I’m a transplant, a Northerner, from north of the Intracoastal Waterway, in other words – a foreigner.
It is normally referred to as the Cajun culture, but I think it should be re-defined and re-named “The Bayou Culture.” I really don’t guess it’s important what it’s called. We live along a bayou that eventually runs into the gulf. It is a quiet community, except for the fact a major highway runs straight through it on its way to Port Fourchon. If you haven’t heard of the port, I suggest you look it up. It plays an important part in our nation’s fuel resources.
I have found out that quiet communities do not always mean everyone likes each other. In fact, I’ve found out quite the opposite. Lucky us – we purchased what used to be a junk yard. Really! It was an auto salvage yard complete with a junk yard dog. The owner died as the result of complications derived from a motorcycle accident. Not that that information is at all important to the story I am trying to tell. We purchased the property from the company who bought the property for the junk. The junk had long been carted off, well, most of it, by the time we became the owners about sixteen years ago.
What makes this property unique is that it is located between family members. We are, in fact, surrounded by family. It is akin to having your own little country right smack in the center of Russia! And, we are liked about that much (yeah, not so much.)
It wasn’t always this way. Well, maybe it was and we were oblivious to it. I became best friends with the girl next door (We are all girls, right? Even though we’re women.) Not so many years ago, she divorced her husband. She got me in the divorce. Turns out, the rest of the family – remember the family property next door – didn’t care for it too much. In fact, I was told at one point that since we were neighbors, I shouldn’t be friends with her anymore. I kid you not! That’s a quote. I’m not much on doing what I’m told so it comes as no surprise, so many years later we are still best friends.
I won’t go into the details, but it would make such interesting reading if I did – but, they declared war on us in their backdoor way. At 7 o’clock one Saturday morning, they were exchanging a gate in the fence that had been frequently used for visiting, for a taller one (as in six feet) and then proceeded to put a padlock on it. I’ve always thought it nice that they now have access to my yard (they have the key) and I don’t have access to theirs. I have some thoughts on how to rectify that – don’t worry.
Children who used to call us Nana and Papa are no longer allowed to even glance our way, much less wave or say hello. They are closely watched to ensure that no pleasantries are exchanged during visitation days. It is really sad that people put so much effort into being ugly rather than using that same energy in being a Christian.
So, this has become our norm. I compare it at times to living in a third war country. The reason it came to mind today and the reason I’m sitting down to write about my life here in this little bayou community is what happened today. Today was grass cutting day in the neighborhood! Wow! You say! Yes, I say!
It has become the norm for them to mow their grass and whatever trash is in the yard (they pick nothing up) and blow it through the fence into our yard. If it were just grass, I wouldn’t have a problem and if it were normal grass throwing, but it’s not. They make pass after pass after pass cleaning off their driveway only to blow it through the fence and all over my driveway rather than mulching with the mower and throwing it into their own yard. Trust me, when you’ve picked up enough styrofoam and plastic and paper and whatever trash they don’t pick up that has been chewed up and spit through your fence, making your yard look like a junk yard, it gets old quick. It’s done on purpose to be a nuisance. And, that’s what is so sad. Adults – did I say adults? – acting like this.
I’m writing about grass, and although someone might think it petty, they haven’t been living next door to people who have, for the last four years, done non-stop things to be ugly. From throwing trash across the fence to piling spoiled food next to the fence for an innocent puppy to pull through the fence and digest, to a long list of…let’s just say ugly things (I could go on for hours, but I won’t). The grass situation is only the latest in the string of events.
So, I’ve decided that every grass cutting day I will take the opportunity to walk up and down my long driveway non-stop until they have completed their task. They have taken the safety vent off of the side of their mower, which makes it doubly dangerous to be anywhere around when they are mowing, which means they’ll be finding another venue for throwing grass due to the liability should they hit me with something due to their negligence.
And, that folks, is what it is like on the bayou – at least in our neck of the woods.