For the better part of six years, my wife and I have minded our own business.
But for me, coming from a small town in the Midwest, I believe knowing my neighbors is a part of Americana.
You become friends, have cookouts, the kids play together and the men share their tools and work on projects together.
However, there seems to be one in every neighborhood.
The one neighbor who cannot mind their own business, but feels they need to interfere in the daily lives of others.
We know who our nosey neighbor is now.
Since we’ve decided to put in a garden this year to teach a few life lessons to our children, we opted to go with a raised garden bed. For one, I prefer to use soil, not the sand most Floridians are used to. I don’t have much of a green thumb, nor does my wife, but my mom has developed her gardening skills throughout the years. I know I can lean on her for advice.
So my neighbor and I spent a recent weekend constructing the raised bed. We cleared the area, racked out dead grass, leaves and pulled up a variety of plants, both dead and alive.
Once we completed our task at hand, we surveyed the remainder of my yard. It was in pretty bad shape. We began the cumbersome chore of preparing to throw down grass seed. The neighbor began to snipe. We were minding our business; she left and we went back to our work.
A few days later, a county employee arrives at the house, tells the wife there’s been a complaint filed about the massive deck we’ve constructed on our house.
The inspector checked it out, and when I called to research the problem, county officials said we were in the clear and well within our rights. We even received a compliment for taking the initiative to start a garden.
“Your project looks nice from what I was told,” the county official told me.
“Thanks,” I replied.
“Has the person who complained been told we are within our rights?” I asked.
“I don’t know if the person who filed the complaint left a number,” the official responded.
“Oh, well I know who it was, so no need to worry,” I replied.
“Well, I don’t have a name of the person who filled the complaint,” county official No. 1 said.
“I do,” I countered.
“We have to check out every complaint that is filed, so we know everyone is complying with the county rules,” the official said.
“I understand how it works,” I reply again.
We end our conversation with polite formalities. The county official was polite and I understood the situation.
What troubles me is the nosey neighbor, who apparently, does not know the difference between a raised garden bed and a deck. More so, if there is that much concern, knock on our door and I’d be more than happy to fill you in about what we’re doing.
My short Irish fuse was lit.
“Let it go,” my wife tells me.
“I should tell said neighbor where to go,” I mutter under my breath.
“What?” my wife asks.
“Nothing,” I respond.
Maybe, I should let it go; then again maybe the neighbor should mind her business and find a constructive hobby.