Friday, November 30, 2012

A Neighbor’s Story


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

I returned to Ketchum on Monday morning after a four-day excursion to Boise and found that a carnival was going on next door. It appeared to be a collective yard sale from among several homes in the neighborhood. However, I learned it was all the personal belongings of my neighbor who had run away. A friend of the eloper had decorated a tree in streamers of loud colors in hopes of attracting prospective curiosity “buyers.” Chairs were perched in a row on the berms, along with ceiling fans, floor lamps and antique debris all attractively arranged for the eye-pleasing viewing of commuters in their vehicles on the way to work in the morning and on their way home in the evening. There were two large signs separating the entrance to our homes that stated “Yard Sale. Everything for Free!” I’d call that a bargain.

I pulled into my garage, barely missing a bevy of bargain shoppers, turned off the engine and gasped, “What the … ?” A young Latino lad hurried toward me and asked “Is this cell phone free, too?” “Yes, son,” I replied. “Take whatever your heart desires. It’s all yours.”

Unfortunately, it was raining quite hard. One would think that would have discouraged the masses but such was not the case. They wandered in and out of the shared yard all day long searching for the free “gold” and at the end of the day, surprisingly, most everything was gone. I believe that it probably would have been better if it had taken place in September, but that’s just me. Untouched were various appliances, furniture, dishes, unfinished hobbies and dreams, and a huge television proudly exposed to the violent rainstorm. The next day, a friend of the “free, take-it-away extravaganza producer” loaded up the unwanted second-hand treasures and took them away. The man, clearly, is a saint.

What remained was all inside. It looked like a house damaged by Super Storm Sandy. The odor of old clothes, leftover food, old paint cans, dead turtles and hundreds of old Power Ball tickets discarded with false hope and dreams filled the shattered residence and sent one reeling into the street. The basement resembled the remains of a Dresden firebombing in the 1940s. All this remained for the new tenants, a fine, heroic couple, to solve with the property owner who lives some 3,000 miles away. Such is life in the Wood River Valley.

The bitter man had trashed the property and left it all to be cleaned up by friends, the owner’s new tenants and anyone who would volunteer to help—many heroes emerged. This former tenant will not be welcomed back. It was an awkward message for Thanksgiving, but, on the other hand, many are thankful he’s gone.

Now, let’s get on with the final month of the year and appreciate what you have—and, especially the good people who live next door to you. We’re all in this together.

Nice talking to you.

 




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