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Thursday, September 16, 2010

A disagreeable neighbor spells trouble for the Christian household

Arrgghh! I am still seething from yesterday's after-school incident. My son and some of his school chums were playing with the football in our backyard yesterday. The first I was aware of them was when, after he had been out playing in the neighborhood for sometime, I hear voices in the backyard. So naturally I go to the back door and open it to check who it is, to make sure everything is kosher. There are my son and 4 to 5 of the neighborhood school kids. They are playing with the football, kicking it off and running with it, tackling each other, whatnot. So after exchanging a few words, with them and watching the play for a moment, I go back inside to watch TV or what have you. They had receded from mind for the most part, when some 10 minutes later, there is a loud pounding on our front door. There stands the neighbor woman, trembling with anger and, the instant I open the door, she shouts, "the next time anyone from this house comes into my yard, I will call the police. The next time!" And, without waiting for a response she stalked away. I checked out back and everyone was gone. Hmm.

We had had this sort of run in with this woman before, over one of our cats that had got in her yard. She filed a complaint in court ("cat at large" was the official term,) that our cat had entered her yard and caught a bird. We had to appear, but the judge was not impressed with her complaint and dismissed it saying, "cats are not at large, dogs are."

In perhaps another 10 minutes there is another pounding on the door. At first I was going to ignore it, assuming she had thought of something else threatening or inane to shout at me, but after another knock I went to the door and there was a police officer. What I expected was a "so what is the story with you and this lady next door?" information gathering type interview, but he launched into a stern interrogation. He was shortly joined by another patrolmen, and with the second officer observing, he proceeded to grill me about who had been here, where they were now, why weren't you watching what they were doing, etc. I think I explained that my son and some of his friends had been playing ball in the back and almost certainly the ball got over the fence and one of them went to get it. He asked where they were now, and I answered I guess at one of their houses ( no doubt she scared the devil out of them and so they all left.) He asked me, “where do they live?” And, as I don't know precise addresses for all my son's school chums, I answered "I don't know." "So you don't know where your son's friends live?" There was one whose I did know, a couple of streets over, so I offered, “One friend lives a couple of houses over on that street" He challenges, "so why are you changing your story?" After grilling me this way a couple of more minutes, and I remarked on this officer's belligerent demeanor, I offered what I believed was the sober cool-headed version of the event, that the ball went over the fence and one of them went to get it, the patrolmen left, I suppose to interview the folks at the home I had indicated.
When I finally got with my son, and got the full story from him, it was confirmed of course that no nefarious actions were intended by any of these 10 to 12 yr old boys that would necessitate summoning the police and holding draconian assizes such as I endured. In fact, MY son had never left OUR property, he is not the one that kicked the ball over the fence, and the boy that went into her yard left our property and entered her yard from the alley. Yet I am the one she sicked the police on and who was treated as a criminal suspect by the city's finest. Grrr!
Seriously, is this the sort of thing about which we have to call the police? How pathetic! If I found a boy in my backyard retrieving a ball I would gently but firmly instruct him in future to come to the door so I could fetch it for him.

Dear ones, the passions are strong! I have lost sleep over this and confess I would dearly love to punch her ugly, pallid face. Please pray for me.


  1. Dear Tony:
    I also saw your post on Orthodox-Forum. We have all had people like this in our lives, and of course we *should* forgive all and pray for all. I do not believe that making this matter public is in your neighbor's best interest, or in yours. You have called her mentally ill publicly, and permanently! This is just friendly pastoral advice - this was not a good idea. I hope she does not see this post. Things have a way of happening, you know!

    Priest Seraphim Holland
    Redeeming the Time BLOG - http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

  2. Father, bless,
    I very much appreciate you taking time to comment for my good. I am thankful to God for your charity to my poor self. I do stand ready to forgive, any offense, from anyone, for Our Lord's sake and for the sake of my soul. In fact, as I consider it, I know it would be cause for not only relief but rejoicing on my part for her sake.

    That said, forgiveness, I firmly believe, is predicated upon repentance. There has been no such repentance in this case.
    Your advice is well taken, and I will continue to ponder it. Kissing your right hand. Tony