The sound of the traffic ranges from “oh my god, are they are going to hit the house”, to white noise in those areas where there are a couple of houses to buffer the unending drone. You know that the air is probably revolting, but there are lots of birds. Isn’t the first sign of toxicity and carbon monoxide poisoning a mountain of bird corpses?

They just moved into the neighborhood. Three men in their mid-to-late 30s and on the weekends, several young children magically appear with their toys, trikes, and skateboards. They can’t fit all three trucks in the garage so there is always one sitting on the street, blocking the exit of the other two.

Outside, whether they are on the phone, washing the car, alone, or in a huddle with their kids, they always look up expectantly and smile at anyone who walks or drives by. I suppose it’s hard to make friends in a family neighborhood when you are three single dads in suburbia.

I walk the dogs everyday at 5:00am and had seen the previous tenants move out. I know for sure it was Halloween – a week or two before – when I noticed these new (yet unseen ) tenants had stapled 12 to 15 sheets of paper that all say “boo” to the outside of the garage facing the street. How strange I thought, and I’m sure those thoughts were echoed by almost everyone that passed. There are also six or eight fake headstones in a random pattern on the dried up lawn. The headstones are about 3” x 5”- really meant for a tabletop scene, not the outside of a house,. There is also one of those air powered ghosts that collapses in a heap when you turn them off and looks like someone left their bed linens on the front lawn.

The décor is just odd, disproportionate, and definitely not “womens work” .In this gated community, overflowing with older people with too much time on their hands and no one to complain to, this pathetic Halloween display is like putting a spotlight on the side of your house, trained on your neighbors windows. Taunting, nasty, pointless, just waiting for comment.

I wonder how they ended up here, in this community? Are they really single fathers as they appear to be, or are they just immature young men who came up with a plan to rent a house, transform it into a haunted house to pay the rent, and support their lifestyle. I’m keeping my eye on them.

As Halloween approaches , a few more of the bizarre tiny headstones have appeared on the lawn. Don’t they get it? That it doesn’t work? Guess not.

Passing the house next door to the tombstones, a new owner, a woman on her own, has ripped out the water wise garden and planted grass( in the middle of a drought) and topped that off with a small, poorly worded sign warning people not to let their dogs pee or poop on her lawn. In a community with at least 100 dogs, probably more, this sign is like someone screaming at you every time you take a stroll. What a bitch.

Just last night when I had the dogs out for a stretch, I saw a tiny girl, outfitted in a pink princess costume, walk out of the garage and head for the street,on a mission. I catch her by the hem and grab her left arm, just in time to prevent her from walking right in front of a Honda, the young driver, on his cell, totally unaware of her presence.

The girl turns looks up and glares at me. One of the dads rushes out, dressed in a dinosaur costume, with a very distressed look in his eyes. She pulls away from me and rushes into his arms screaming “daddy!!!” and he glares at me “Keep your hands off my kid!” I start to explain what happened, but he is too scared that she got away and out the door before he noticed, so he is unable to hear or accept any explanation of what actually happened. I think to myself, oh well, the important thing is she’s OK, grab the dogs and continue my walk.

Yellow ribbons are tied to all of the light poles from the entrance to the community all the way down the street, and up into the cul-de-sac just to the east. In late September, one of the cul-de-sac families lost their son in Afghanistan, and I’m assuming they held a wake or memorial service at the house on that weekend. There was a hand written sign on the gated entrance a few weeks ago, on a Sunday, and tiny flags were planted in everyone’s yards leading to his parents home and remained in place for at least two weeks after. I don’t even know all the people on my block, I wonder if his parents or his siblings went to every single house to ask if they could do that, or if they just did it. Forgiveness not permission., or is it compassion not forgiveness.

I wondered how those parents felt about the tiny headstone decorations, especially since these early attempts at Halloween decoration had seemed to inspire similar graveyard themes in a few other neighbors’ yards, and the street was beginning to seem a little creepy, especially now with the yellow ribbons and the flags. I have noticed before that the people on this street are, very patriotic and flags go up and down at random from house to house- holiday- or not. Maybe they all belong to the same church, or the “tea party” or are all military families.

More from SDReader


nan shartel Oct. 7, 2011 @ 12:16 p.m.

new people in the neighborhood eh...mixing it all into the big bowl of living can be weird usual good writing...kudos!!!

oh...and dogs have rights 2!!!


Ruth Newell Oct. 9, 2011 @ 7:25 a.m.

Liking the image of the dad in a dino costume. Too bad he didn't care to hear you out though. So much for him feeling distressed about where she had run off too.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!