Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why My Neighbors Branded Me with a Scarlet A

Yesterday I mentioned our neighborhood watch. It's an unofficial group, comprised mostly of wannabe Miss Marples. We don't have one of those fancy signs on our street, but I guarantee our gals are every bit as good as the major leaguers.

Yes, they've had some mishaps. They called the cops on one of our friends (he was visiting overnight and took a morning walk; they thought he was a disoriented vagabond), called to ask if I was sick when my sister-in-law dropped off a gallon of milk (she was coming for breakfast), reported that I had stalkers in my driveway (when my parents came to visit and were accidentally locked out, so they slept in the car). Oh, and there's the little fact that when we actually did have a burglar, they were all asleep.

But for all that, I do feel a little safer knowing they're all packin' heat, and they're all watching our house neighborhood like hawks.

So a few months after we got married and I moved in to the neighborhood, my darling was working late and had left his pickup at the farm. He'd driven his brother's pickup home, and for some reason parked in front of the house instead of in the driveway. It must have been 11pm, and the overcast sky made the night dark as pitch.

I noticed the telltale split in the blinds across the street as our neighbor peered through to inspect the strange headlights, but as she did this often, I thought little of it.

At 4am he had to get back to the farm to bale hay, but promised he'd be home for breakfast. We smooched goodbye in the doorway, and I thought I caught another split in the blinds out of the corner of my eye. "She's watching, you'd better go," I told him, so we had a good chuckle and he hurried away to the farm.

Around 9am in full sunlight he came back for breakfast, this time in his own pickup, and parking (as usual) in our driveway. By now there were three Jr. Miss Marples huddled across the street, whispering, shaking their heads, and casting sidelong glances in my direction.

The neighbors who were usually so friendly shunned me for weeks! They wouldn't wave to me, smile at me, or bring in my trash can. The situation finally came to a head when one of them brought some homemade preserves and coolly added, "for your husband."

That's when it clicked and I realized why they were blackballing me. I was Hester Prynne!

"Oh yes, that darling husband of mine. He's been working late nights, with the hay and all. Sometimes he can just come home a few hours a night, and once he even drove his brother's pickup home." I knew that last bit had nothing to do with the sentence, but I wanted some of those preserves and she didn't look like she trusted them in my tainted possession.

Immediately her death grip on the sparkling jar of goodness loosened and she was all smiles. "Oh, that's just like him! He's such a good man. I know you two are so in love; it's great to see that in a marriage."


Rina ... also Chester or Daisysmum. said...

Cute story ... so ya better behave! This might teach them not to judge before they go hopping to conclusions.
Maybe at the next meeting you could suggest the girls rather storm the place together with baseball bats and frying pans, that would scare anybody off and out the neighbourhood, sure never comeback to rob any of you ever... Girls Rule!!!

Katherine said...

Wow. Sounds like they might do better to spend more time doing doing something a little more productive and not watching Rear Window so often. Next they will see you digging in the yard and declare you've murdered someone!

Unknown said...

Okay - from the outsiders perspective this is HILARIOUS!! From your vantage point, it's probably a little tiring knowing they are always watching your back! What a funny story :)

Elisa said...

Haha...that is so funny...crazy gossipy ladies..

Kate said...

The funniest part of this is, anyone who actually knows you knows that you are the least likely woman on the planet to cheat on her husband.

Carrie C. said...

You need to write a book - your stories are so fun to read!

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