Our neighbor to the north is what is politely referred to as an eccentric.  He is that guy you probably see in your own neighborhood now and then: an older gent who tends to stay to himself, with a bizarre sense of fashion, and the uniquely long, wispy, wild gray hair that completes the picture of a silver-screen creeper.  I can’t help but stare every time I see him ambling about.

Our eccentric is home all the time but he’s not someone for the neighborhood watch.  You would know this just by looking at his property.  In addition to his adobe-style house – which looks like it was helicoptered in and dropped amidst the horse properties of the area – he has several outbuildings remaining from an old ranch that once commanded hundreds of acres.  Collectively the buildings made for a quaint Colorado postcard when you looked out my window.  Then creeper tore them all down, leaving only a large silo and an old wooden livestock loading ramp.

In the ten years we’ve lived here, we’ve only run into Mr. Crazy a handful of times.  Most of those encounters reinforced the idea that he’s missing a few marbles.  On one occasion, his cows escaped his property (run cows, run for your lives!) and he called my wife demanding she get on a horse and go after them.  On another occasion I called the fire department on him, because he started a huge blaze inside the silo burning God-knows-what. (Weed?  I don’t remember but maybe that’s because I got high).  On yet another occasion – in a doctor’s office of all places – psycho showed up minutes after we did to see the same doctor.  Stalker.  I was quietly hoping the doctor would check him into a round room and give him a bag of marshmallows to play with.  But alas, there he was back on his property the very next day.

Our latest encounter with loony – an experience that cements our neighbor’s status as out-to-lunch – involves our mailbox.  It’s an innocent-looking picture, isn’t it?  Boxes sitting quietly on a modest stand waiting patiently for their daily fill from USPS.  In fact, the boxes are sitting on a brand new stand in a brand new location.  They used to live on a stand further to the north – on screwball’s property.

11- mailboxes

Here’s the quick story.  In mid-December, just in time to boost my holiday cheer, I received a notice from dingbat.  The notice told me the stand underneath the mailboxes belonged to him, and he was taking it down because he decided to move his own mailbox to the other end of his property.  So for the rest of us – my other two neighbors and I – we needed to find a new stand and relocate our mailboxes.  Get er’ done in two weeks or the mailboxes would be left sitting on the ground.  Unless, madman was quick to add, we’d each kick in $50.  Then he’d leave the stand in place.  $50?  Heck, I can get a year’s worth of a P.O. box for less than that.

Anyway, I conferred with my neighbors and just for kicks we decided to… do nothing.  No response to our notices and no $50.  The ol’ wait and see.  Well, wacko didn’t disappoint.  Each of us received another notice just before New Year’s telling us “time was running out!”  Well Happy New Year, old man; we still didn’t do anything.

Okay, so here’s the one part of the story where bats-in-his-belfry gets a little pat on the back (not a real one, mind you).  The final notice we received – shortly after January 1 – was an official document from the USPS Postmaster telling us we had one week to relocate our boxes.  Needless to say, end of story and see photo above.

One final oddity about Mr. Crazy.  He hand-writes his notices in illegible #2 pencil scrawled on yellow pad.  Most people would create a Word document and print it, or write a single note and then copy it.   Weirdo wrote every one of his notices by hand.  Who does that?  What really goes on in that house over there?

If you’re concerned my lack-of-marbles neighbor will read this, I’ve probably made his day since he seems to enjoy pestering those who live nearby.  I can just picture him over their behind the curtains of his out-of-place adobe, reading my blog and doing a jig while he cackles and throws Cheetos at his computer.  Yeah, yeah – have your fun pal – we’re still not moving.  Just don’t ask me to borrow a cup of sugar.

Author: Dave

Three hundred posts would suggest I have something to say… This blog was born from a desire to elevate the English language, highlighting eloquent words from days gone by. The stories I share are snippets of life itself, and each comes with a bonus: a dusted-off word I hope you’ll go on to use more often. Read “Deutschland-ish Improvements” to learn about my backyard European wish list. Try “Slush Fun” for the throwback years of the 7-Eleven convenience store. Or drink in "Iced Coffee" to discover the plight of the rural French cafe. On the lighter side, read "Late Night Racquet Sports" for my adventures with our latest moth invasion. As Walt Whitman said, “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.” Here then, my verse. Welcome to "Life In A Word".

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