Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


June 23, 2014

Boom went the wall

ASHLAND — I believe it was the poet Robert Frost who wrote that good fences make good neighbors.

Walls, however, do not.

Seven years or so ago, the neighbor behind me replaced a bad fence with plywood siding.


From her side it didn’t look too bad once the stuff was painted. Our view, however, was of the old posts, the boards that held the sheets up and the knot-holed, weathered plywood. But we could live with that as we had no choice.

I noticed pretty quickly that no one bothered to take the old nails out of the siding before they put it up. So when I was out pulling weeds or mowing, I’d take the hammer along and pound the pointy ends down to keep me or anyone else from getting snagged.

That ended the day I heard a shout from the other side of the wall:

“Who’s pounding on my fence?”

I yelled back, “Just hammering down your nails” and fled to the house.

We were about to buy paint for our side of the wall when The Incident occurred.

My daughter, mowing her lawn, tipped the trampoline on end to cut the grass. The neighbor called the police because the rim of the said trampoline leaned against one of the posts holding up the plywood.

We took brownies in apology, since she’s an older lady who apparently gets upset easily, and made a family decision not to touch her precious wall.

When carpenter ants found one of the posts, we let them enjoy the wood. When that nasty vine that  wants to take over my privet bushes began to climb her security wall, we let it go.

That big storm that came through a couple of weeks ago blew down part of her wall. It might have taken it all down if we didn’t have a nice hickory and a couple of redbuds to keep it from completely toppling. Grateful that it hadn’t come down on my daughter’s mini-garden, we enjoyed the air flow from the newly opened areas.

Yesterday morning, I was awakened shortly before 8 a.m. by the sound of pounding. A young guy was taking down what was left of the wall.

He didn’t look happy.

I, on the other hand, was delighted. I’m sure my neighbor is appalled by the sight of my back yard which needs some serious cleaning-up. But in my defense, when the view from the chaise in the shade is nasty plywood, the front porch becomes the place to sit.

Since this was written yesterday before I got home, there may be a new fence in place by the time I see the back of my property again.

Or — and I shudder here — maybe a new wall made of plywood siding.

If so, I may have to bake more brownies and go back over to her house to have a little talk.

As in, “hey, we’re going to paint our side whether you like it or not” and “Did you know that if you drilled a few holes in that solid sheet of wood, the air would go through inside of flattening it?”

Just being neighborly, you know.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net


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