Say hello to Mr. Wilson

Rick Ryckeley's picture

The Wife and I, we live in a small, quiet town. From our front door, it’s an easy walk to the heart of downtown and the old-fashioned coffee shop where we get breakfast and a hot wakeup drink.

There, we talk about everything and nothing, as we enjoy the ambiance and watch the townsfolk filter in. On Saturdays we spend more time than money weaving our way through the many eclectic antique shops which dot Main Street. Always a surprise and a treat are the homemade ice-cream and samples of chocolates from the corner mercantile.

We shop at the hometown grocery, buy gas from the only gas station, and tires from the only tire store. All three establishments bear the same name of a family that’s been in this town for some 120 years.

If you’re looking for small-town America, look no further. For this is it. Yep, The Wife and I had it great. We lived in a nice quiet neighborhood.
That is until Mr. Cherry Bomb Muffler guy moved in two houses down the street.

It took 45 years, but somehow I’ve gone from Denise the Menace to old Mr. Wilson overnight. Call me old, call me an old fuddy-duddy, or call me Mr. Wilson. Don’t really care.

What I do care about is living in a nice, quiet neighborhood. And not having to listen to Mr. Muffler as its being driven up and down the street, for no other reason that I can discern other than to make noise and say, “Hey, look at me. I’m an idiot.”

Mission accomplished, you can quit now.

At least that’s what I thought it was saying. Really couldn’t hear. The noise coming from that thing was deafening. You know how much money that kid could have in 20 years if he simply invested the money wasted on cherry bomb mufflers, and that gigantic sound system that fills his entire backseat, into a good mutual fund?

And while I’m on my old fuddy-duddy soapbox, I support your rights to listen to any music you want while in your car. But if, at a stop light, your music is so loud it’s vibrating my car and parts are falling off? Well, then, it’s too loud!

I actually thought about rolling down my window and shouting this to a driver last week, but decided better of it. I’m sure he wouldn’t hear anyway – probably already gone deaf.

Same rule goes for music playing in or outside your house. Normal folks, like Mr. Wilson and me, go to bed around 10. If your music sounds like a live rock band right outside my bedroom door, then again, it’s too loud.

Rest assured though, if you live in my neighborhood there is a solution. You’ll be getting a visit from the folks in blue uniforms. They will ask you nicely to act like a civilized human and turn the volume down.

And if you don’t hear them – well, they have some nice silver cuffs for you to wear. Besides, we old folks gotta go to work in the morning and need our rest, or we get really grumpy.

Noisy new neighbors aside, what happened yesterday almost has me putting a for sale sign in front of our house.

A family of four drove up in a golf cart. They got out, and walked down to where I was working. Said they’d admired my garden and wanted to know what all was planted.

With pride I told the young couple about the tremendous produce that comes from raised beds and square foot gardening. I told them about the 64 strawberry plants, all the vegetables, and the flowers to draw in bees.

When they left, I suddenly realized. Some strawberries had left with them.

I went inside and told The Wife. “Well, there goes the neighborhood! Those hoodlums picked my strawberry.”

She patted my chest and smiled, “Those ‘hoodlums,’ my love, were only 3 and 5 years old. Now go take a shower, we have a party to go to.”

I had totally forgotten about the party. Just hope they don’t play a bunch of loud music and I can still get back home and into bed by 10. There’s a lot of work to do in the morning – gotta put a fence around the strawberries to keep them varmints out.

I think Mr. Wilson would approve.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for over 26 years and a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is saferick@bellsouth.net. His book is available at www.RickRyckeley.com.]

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