Our neighbor, two doors down the road got busy clearing his driveway. Overgrown weeds and meandering vines had practically taken over certain patches and sections of the gravel surface. The deepening ruts, courtesy of his Ford F-350 monster truck, now brimming with rain water from the unprecedented downpour over the last couple of days practically converted the driveway into a military obstacle course.
Rumor has it that his wife filed a grievance and since her tiny Mini Cooper cannot negotiate the current driveway terrain my neighbor had to do something about it or else. You know how those grievances turned into orders from above go. There’s no known recourse, or a chance for appeal.
I saw him early Monday morning driving stakes to the ground, walking behind a measuring tape on rollers, taking notes on his pocket spiral notebook. I was on my way to the tractor supply place.
“Howdy Mr T – looks like a big project’s about to be launched…” I stopped my truck momentarily to engage my neighbor in conversation.
“Yup,” he said without looking up. He appeared to be preoccupied with numbers. “Heading somewhere?” he continued still not looking up.
“I’m going to the tractor supply place. Anything I can get you while I’m there?” I offered.
“Looks like you are going to do it. Finally.” I said to him, extending my hand for a handshake. For a while and off and on he and I have talked about him fixing his driveway.
“Well, we’ve had too much dang rain,” he began. “And the Missus, you know, she drives that there foreign-made golf cart they call a car.” He shook his head. He wanted to say more but he stopped – as if afraid to continue, for fear word might get back to his wife and he would then be in more trouble.
“Them things sit way low on the ground,” I commiserated with him. I drive a Toyota Tundra myself so I know about Mini Cooper vehicles. The ones we have locally swish, swerve and weave all over the country roads just because they are small and can squeeze themselves in-between bigger cars. “I think Mini Coopers are a nuisance, don’t you?” I asked him rhetorically.
“So I have to finally cement the driveway – completely,” he said resignedly.
“Who’s doing the job?” I inquired.
I shuddered at the thought.
“I see you’ve got this site all planned out,” I continued, craning my neck to look at a spot where the driveway jogs around a water oak tree. “And what are you going to do with that site there?” I pointed at the curb by the water oak.
“Oh that… well, I’ll have reinforced concrete poured there.” He was off to his project.
I drove off feeling a little sad for my neighbor. Crafts people who list on Craigslist often have been known to exaggerate their credentials, their licenses, and sometimes aren’t too reliable to finish the job before they bail.
Maybe my neighbor will be lucky.