Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm a retired teacher turned writer. Ferradiddledumday (my Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story) and Stuck (my middle grade paranormal novel) are available from Cedar Creek Publishing.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Help From My Friends

“All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
—Edmund Burke


You don’t know who your friends really are until your tombstone vanishes. Turns out I’ve got lots of friends who’ve emailed, phoned, stopped by, stopped me on the street, etc., to offer their condolences and support. I’ve had advice from a couple of detective buddies, offers of prayers, offers of a hex (nothing really harmful, “just psychological stuff,” the emailer noted), an offer of possible FBI involvement (“My son does work for the FBI, wanna call in a favor?” another friend emailed), and a bunch of other interesting offers. An all this was before yesterday’s KNRA/WXLP radio show.

Turns out many of the locals don’t care for the things my harassers do, either. “A lot of people are embarrassed by them,” a guy told me Wednesday, “but they’re afraid to speak out because of retaliation.” He noted that some people visiting him from out of town wondered about the rusty chair display across from my driveway, and he had to explain that it was an example of harassment by some of the locals. (Too bad he didn’t know that it’s “a place for the hunters to sit.” Heck, even I didn’t know that myself until yesterday’s show.)

Retaliation: That’s the key. When good people do nothing, evil triumphs. My area does have a lot of good people in it. Many of my neighbors are wonderful, caring people. I’m proud to know them and to live near them. But many are afraid to take a stand.

Mean people exist. We all know that. Bullying is a problem in public schools. Child abuse and domestic abuse are problems in our society. TV shows, like Dr. Phil and his ilk, often address these problems. Neighbor abuse exists, too. A friend of mine, from an area several miles from me, was even physically attacked by one her neighbors as she was nailing up a “No Trespassing” sign. She didn’t know then about warrants. So, all the mean people don’t live around me. But I’ve got more than my share.

In my younger days, I was a member of a trail club who met in a building (I think it was a Ruritan clubhouse), on the wall of which hung this sign:
If it’s to be,
It’s up to me.
Once a month—for a couple of years during the 1980s—I looked at that sign. Was it a message for me?

Is it up to me to stop expecting that the neighborhood rednecks/”local hunters” get tired of harassing me? Is it up to me to expose the hatefulness of a small group of people? Can I make the world—a tiny piece of it, at least—better because I call attention to those who attempt to bully me?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But I went into town yesterday and “did something”—among other things, I took out a “stay away” warrant on the guy who confronted me on yesterday’s radio program. I’m sure he will consider that another instance of my harassment of the locals. After all, the “local hunters” were only offering to get back my tombstone that they accuse me of stealing myself, and all I have to do is not “harass” them. Uh, does this sound like blackmail?

If it quacks like a duck. . .

And if it’s to be—well, you know.
~

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ms. Elenaeous said...

One of my favorite sayings is, "If you think one person can't make a difference try spending a night in a tent with a mosquito". Keep on buzzing...

8:53 AM  
Blogger Debi said...

I thank God I live next door to the most wonderful neighbors in the world.

8:54 PM  

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