Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 28, 2014

John Cannon: Wrong place for 4-wheeling: 1/29/14

John Cannon
The Independent

ASHLAND — Although I have never done it and probably never will, I have always thought four-wheeling would be a lot of fun. It is easy for the little boy in me to see how driving over rugged, muddy terrain in a monster truck with four-wheel drive would be a real blast. I also can see how tooling around on an ATV would be fun, even though I have never been on one.

That being said, there is a time and a place for everything, and my front yard on a Sunday afternoon is the wrong place and the wrong time to go four-wheeling.

But that’s what happened Sunday afternoon while I was visiting a friend recovering from a hip transplant. As I was heading home, my wife called and said someone had run their truck through our front yard.

When I pulled into the driveway a few minutes later, I could not believe it. There were tire tracks that began in the corner of our neighbor’s yard before crossing the driveway into our yard.

The vehicle, which had some sort of dual rear wheels, narrowly missed hitting the oak tree in our front yard. Instead, it went through our raised flower beds, essentially destroying them. The vehicle then cut back across the other side of our yard, before getting back onto Forest Avenue and heading down the street. He (or she) never stopped to survey the damage.

An unfortunate accident, right? Maybe, but it did not look much like an accident to me. Instead, it looked like someone who must have been having a really boring Sunday afternoon had intentionally decided to have some fun on my yard.

My wife called the police, and the officer agreed it was no accident. The odds of someone running off the street and going though our yard without hitting either the house, the oak tree or the fence were almost astronomical unless the driver at least had some control of the vehicle. By Sunday afternoon, Forest Avenue was clear of ice and snow, so there was no chance the truck had hit a patch of ice and skidded into our yard.

All of this begs the question: If the truck’s destruction of our yard was intentional, why? I realize I have made a few enemies over the years and am not universally loved, but I can’t imagine someone dislikes me so much they would intentionally vandalize our yard. I suspect this was just as act of random vandalism. Some bored creature just decided to have some fun at the expense of my yard.

I am not the one who is hurt by this misdeed, which on the scale of things is rather minor. I have no great love for anything in my yard. The extent of my yard work does not go much beyond mowing it and digging holes where my wife wants to plant something.

But to my wife, a certified Master Gardener, our yard is a living, ever changing work of art. There is a purpose for every plant. I can spend 10 minutes digging a hole for a new plant and think I have put in a day’s hard labor. My wife can spend six hours in the hot sun planting and digging in the yard just for the fun of it.

Go figure. This old farm boy tells her I went to college to get away from the kind of work she does for fun.

The driver probably thought he was just running through some beds of mostly dead plants, but he was wrong. Had they not been crushed by the truck’s huge wheels or pulled by their roots from the ground, many of those plants would have had a rebirth in the spring. My wife was practically in tears when I showed her the truck had reduced a beloved bush into little more than a pile of sticks.

I am 99.9 percent sure the person who vandalized my yard will never be caught, but I do have one wish: In tearing up our raised flower bed, the driver unearthed some large landscape nails. If there is justice in the world, one or more of those nails pierced one or more of the truck’s six tires.

That probably didn’t happen, but it’s a nice thought.

JOHN CANNON can be reached at jcannon@dailyindependent.com or at (606) 326-2649.