Since returning from our adventures in cold, blustering Boston and the giant lobster in Woods Hole, Texas weather has turned hot and humid. Mustard greens with leaves that only yesterday seemed perfect have developed large holes where grasshoppers are fattening up in an extended Thanksgiving season. The chard has bent over under the weight of an army of aphids. The ubiquitous pyrocantha hanging heavy with orange berries appears to have been painted with lint from the dryer vent. These scale bugs are making their way in a steady march towards my tender new spinach.
The mockingbird that lives in the thorniest part of the pyrocantha has decided to take the demands for more bird seed directly to our patio table. The bird lands on the glass table a few feet away and proceeds to fuss at us until my wife gets up and adds seed to the feeder. The squirrel also gets into this act by dropping twigs on us from the ash tree overhead.
We live in the middle of town, yet the neighbor’s goat jumps on the stump next to my fence and demanded to be petted. The rooster next door answers the urgency for early morning speech with a hoarse caw that is more like a demented raven than a professional member of his union. There was a large splash coming from the pond fed by springs. So far I haven’t had the courage to find out why our large bull frog is missing. There have been persistent rumors in the area of an alligator getting loose from the park. I’ll wait for colder weather in the belief that large reptiles move slower when cold.
To top all of this, there is a one-eyed dummy crouched in an oak tree next door. I’m told by a small neighborhood boy that he is named One-Eyed Jack and that he eats children who stray too close. Down the street there is a tall, empty cage swinging from a limb of a tree that is about twenty-five feet off the ground. Is it a platform for miniature go-go ghost dancers?
We live in weird times. I always liked what Bob Newhart said about comedy. “I couldn’t possibly have made this stuff up.” He took his material from the newspapers. I simply look around me at the bizarre lives of my neighbors. I wonder what they think of me.