Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strange Caller

Tonight, a man drives up and parks in front of my place.  I never get visitors, so I figured it was someone visiting a neighbor.  But the man comes up to my door.  I go out and ask who he might be looking for.  He looks at a paper and says he is looking for...and says my name slowly, as he reads it off.

I say, "That's me."

He says his mother died and he wants to know if this is my true signature as a witness on her will.  First, I ask who his mother is.  He tells me.  I remember her well.  I helped her with cats three times, over near the Albany police station.  The first time I didn't even live in Albany yet and the last time was in 2007 when she asked me, and another, to witness her signing a will.  I can't remember now why she wanted a will of some kind in writing.  She was worried about something but I can't remember all these years later.

Now her son, standing in front of me, is getting aced out of her estate by two step brothers, he claims. He is virtually homeless, penniless, and was living at his mom's house after she passed and the brothers even had utilities turned off to get him out, he said.  Something like that.  Anyhow, he wanted me to write something to verify I did indeed sign that will as a witness years ago.  So I did and I wished him well and off he went.

I remember his mom.  She always wanted me to play Scrabble with her while we waited on traps.  She was very interesting but lived like a hoarder, not of cats, but of stuff.  You couldn't maneuver through that house it was so crammed full.

The old man was out tonight, kind of milling around, was a nice evening.  So I went over and spoke to him.  Started the usual way, admiring his thistle crop.  It's a standing joke.  Last year they grew to five feet before he cut them.  I'd say, "It's such a shame to cut your prize thistles."

I offered to cut his front grass.  He declined and said maybe tomorrow he would get to it and the back, now almost 16 inches high in grass.  He has breathing trouble--COPD.  He really can't do that stuff anymore.  He said he can't be letting neighbors do his lawn, that already three different neighbors, myself being one, had cut the front for him.

I asked why he couldn't let neighbors cut it, that he's retired, to just let others do it and kick back, that's it's his time to kick back.

I said "I don't care if you cut the back or not.  Let it dry out and then it will flatten down, no big deal."  He said maybe he would just let it go in the back.  He knows he really can't do it, with his health trouble.

He said, "So them people at the end, they're parking in front of your place, like those others did.  I saw you went down to talk to them, whad'ya tell them?"

So I told him that in the end, I saw that it didn't matter much at all and told them to go ahead and park any cars they want out front of my place.  I told him I meant it, that they're nice folks.  Then he ranted some about the price of gas and said he had to go inside and watch one of his shows.

I don't know how old he is, late 70's I think.  I plan on sneaking into his back yard to cut off and haul out the broken down arborvita branches that collapsed in the snow. I plan on doing it so bit by bit he probably won't notice that it's been cleaned up.   If he catches me I'll give him a bottle of the dandelion wine I made last year from his constant chronic dandelion crop that has no rival, except in maybe the five foot thistles he grows so well.  With that in hand, he won't mind.

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