|Our wonderful neighbors of over ten years decided to move to a retirement community. They sold their home at a bargain price to a younger couple with a first grade boy and big black dog.
We should have known the new neighbors were going to be a problem when we first met them. The boy immediately started climbing our Japanese Red Maple tree. The mother yelled at him and then slapped him, but he slapped back, and kicked too. However the couple seemed friendly enough.
It wasn't until they moved in that we realized what we had on our hands - a batch of 'hillbillies'.
Mr. Hillbilly is a man of many talents - a true Renaissance Man. "I like to tinker" is how he decribed himself to me. Why he even makes his own wine. I was the recipient of one of his concoctions - homemade apple wine. I tried to drink a glass, but I guess I'm just not used to Homemade Hillbilly Wine. I had this mental image of him stomping the apples with his bare feet. I imagined the wine had a stinky feet bouquet. It wasn't palatable, not even with a big chunk of cheese.
Instead of 'down the hatch', it went 'down the drain'.
"Howd ya like that wine?" he asked me a few days later.
"It was pretty good" I lied, not wanting to hurt his feelings.
"I'll have to give you a jar of honey once I get the bees producing some. Didja notice I started raising bees? We'll have honey in no time!"
Whenever we would step-out our back door, Mr. Hillbilly, would appear out of nowhere and start talking. "Hell-oo! Whatcha doin?" All we were trying to do is something simple like taking out the trash, but it ended-up being a two hour trip to the garbage can thanks to Mr. Hillbilly's never-ending yakking. It got so bad we would peek-out our back door to see if the coast was clear before stepping foot on the back porch.
Our next hint came when lawn mowers in different state of repair, or ruin, we aren't sure which, were placed by the curb with a hand painted sign that read "For Sale". For some reason, these went unsold.
Next, the heat of the summer came and with that, the unsold lawn mowers were moved to the backyard and a table was set-up by the curb. The next "items" for sale were cantaloupes - two for a dollar, and corn on the cob - two dollars a dozen. A big mound of cantaloupes and corn was stacked by the table and pregnant Mrs. Hillbilly sat there all day, hoping the few cars that went by would stop and buy her cantaloupes and corn.
Well, summer soon turned to autumn, and with that, the unsold cantaloupes and ears of corn were piled into the yard and the table was removed. Kerosene heaters were now placed by the "For Sale" sign. They were lined up neatly. These too went unsold.
They now reside in, you guessed it - the backyard.
Before we knew it the holiday season came and went. However, Christmas is still in our hearts, and apparently still on the Hillbilly Calendar since the lights are still-up and the used tree is thrown in the backyard. During the Valentine's Day snowstorm, they graciously turned on their Christmas lights for the neighborhood to enjoy. Not that our hillbillies had a great display of lights. No, they just had a few strung around their front door with the trail of lights leading to the hand rail of their porch. They made an effort at stringing lights around the roof, but gave up. The string of lights hangs from the roof, dangling in the wind.
I think Martha Stewart would have a problem with their execution of lights.
Spring is upon us and now a pile of tires joined the lawn mowers, dead grass (from the rotting corn and cantaloupes), and kerosene heaters.
Heck, a pile of tires is exactly what their yard was missing. Every hillbilly yard needs a pile of tires.
The once carefully manicured lawn is now a mud-pit since the hillbillies decided to rip-up the shrubbery and allow their dog to run loose. The dog is doing its part by fertilizing the mud, hoping for grass to grow, I guess. There are neat piles of 'manure' peppered throughout the yard. In fact, while looking out my kitchen window as I did dishes, I have already witnessed the dog hard at work fertilizing. I used to see birds, or butterflies flutter past, now I see a dog in the act of 'fertilizing'.
There is a new addition to the hillbilly family. "Tater", as we call the first grader, now has a little brother whom we call "Tater Tot". (I'm not sure why we started using these names.) We can't wait until Tater Tot is old enough to start climbing our tree with Tater.
I could go on and on. I haven't told you how the 'stink bugs' and horse flies are at swarm-level since our hillbillies moved next door. Or how the dog has rushed at us as if to attack whenever we return to our home. Or how cooking on our grill, a once enjoyable experience, is now marred because Mr. Hillbilly stands there with his motor-mouth talking our ears off. Since they've moved next door we have seen such sights as nine months pregnant Mrs. Hillbilly mowing what's left of their lawn, while Mr. Hillbilly tinkered with, yet another, lawn mower, kerosene heater, or other such gadget.
It is time to buy a tall, privacy fence. Granted, I will miss such sights as Tater scooping poop and throwing it at the dog. And Mr. Hillbilly, all 130 lbs of him, taking a dip in the half-inflated pool. Yes, it is an educational experience, having hillbillies as our neighbors. However, I believe we have learned enough. We are now graduates of Hillbilly U.
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