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Editorial ----


Living with Yankee neighbors --

When I first to moved to the Springhill, Florida area from Hillsborough County, FLA, I was impressed with the seemingly friendly nature of the local residents. Upon moving into my house I received the usual Welcome Wagon solicitations, all welcoming me into the neighborhood and touting their services. Even the Sheriff's Department invited me to a welcome brunch designed to educate new area residents about neighborhood watches and the sheriff's law enforcement program in general. How nice, I thought. It looks like Springhill was a good choice after all. Being a Southerner, I grew up in neighborhoods where all the neighbors were friends a helped one another out and the kids all hung around each other's houses. This is the scenario I came to appreciate and the ideal I was looking for in Springhill.

Upon meeting the neighbors across the street to the left, I found out that they were from Missouri and very friendly. The lady that lives next door to us is an elderly charmer from Chicago and visits frequently. Yes, it looked like I had chosen a great neighborhood with great neighbors, and so it went for the first 5 months. Life went on normally, with my wife and me cutting the grass on the weekends, trimming hedges, etc. You know how it goes, all the usual stuff one does in the hot summer. You end up scanning the neighborhood and seeing all the other homeowners doing the same types of things.

Then one day it happens. You hear the doorbell ring and your peaceful Springhill neighborhood is suddenly transformed. You answer the door and find an irate neighbor mumbling and ranting in her Yankee accent about polka dotted dogs defecating in her yard and how the police will be called if it's not taken care of immediately. After asking some questions and getting nearly incoherent answers, I was able to determine that my dogs had somehow escaped earlier in the day from the garage. My daughter was doing something out there to her car and had not secured the door all the way. Now, mind you, we have a Dalmatian and an old (very old) toothless balding Pomeranian. Well, it seems the little Pomeranian did leave his very small doggie calling card in a far corner of their yard that is actually an easement to the county and the utility services. I assured them that it would be taken care of, as this was the first I had heard about it. It seems that my daughter told the woman earlier that she would take care of it also but, was kind of leery about going down to the woman's yard unescorted because of the woman's erratic behavior and her apparent aggravation over the dogs. As it ended up, just cleaning up after the dog wasn't enough for these people. They felt like they had the right to give me a lecture about how people shouldn't be irresponsible and let the dogs run rampant over the neighborhood, terrorizing the residents and defecating at will on people's property etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. You know how those lectures go, and anyone who knows me knows that the one thing in the world I hate more than a jerk of a neighbor is to be lectured. Anyway, I kept my cool and scooped the poop, bid them to have a nice life (preferably away from me) and tried to forget the incident.

Another week goes by and I try to settle back into the happy neighborhood thing and requested that the St. Pete times get me one of those nifty little newspaper tubes for my yard to protect my paper from the elements until we retrieve it. You know what I am talking about…the green tubes that say St. Petersburg Times on them. This has always been a weird thing that I've desired to have in my yard as opposed to having my paper just thrown in the yard here and there every morning. As it turned out, the thing was eventually put in, not in my yard but in the infamous easement strip of the yard across the street. The carrier said it had to be that way because it would cause him to have to change his route if it was on the other side of the road, and that just wasn't going to happen. My first question to my wife, who was home on Saturday when he put it in was "Did he ask the neighbors if it was okay?" To which she responded "I asked the same question and he said no, because it was an easement and no different than if we had to put a mailbox across the street". Still skeptical, I agreed to have a look at it later and see how it goes.

I guess you know what is coming next. I looked up from putting new plugs in my car this morning and see my neighbor from across the street whom I've never had the chance to speak to, coming across the street with the paper tube (pole and all) in hand saying he wasn't going to have this in his yard because his wife didn't like it and it was a eyesore. Mind you, I never heard this guy speak before and (you guessed it) he has a heavy Yankee accent. At this point you may be thinking that I am prejudiced against people from up in the northeast corner of the US. I'm not. You see, my wife was originally from Rochester, NY and my ex was from Buffalo. And my Italian in-laws are some of the sweetest people I've ever met. What's up with the people from the Northeast down here? Why are they so uptight? Why do they feel they have to solve problems with an antagonistic confrontation? After the attacks on Sept. 11th of last year, New Yorkers and others from that area want everyone to act as if we are all one big national community. Well, I say that they must remember that that is a two way street.

In the meantime, the neighborhood will never look quite the same to me.

- JA


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Donna Gets it Right!

Now that you have heard from our cuddly Teddy Bear, check out the wit and wisdom of Columnist Donna Jenkins Monnin >>>
Previous Rants

Anybody who wants to Know Jack Better can check out his earlier rants here:

Lighting up is getting harder in South Florida >>

Living with Yankee neighbors>>

The Bug Got Me and Other Stuff >>

Lauderdale, Attack Show Dogs and Beanie Baby Millionaires >>

Driver Insanity, Cabinets and Typhoid Mary >>

Clean Pot Holders and Shiny Tools >>

What time is Oprah on? >>

Pink Flamingoes are keeping me Awake >>

Don't Fish in Lightning Storms>>

I'm So Excited >>

Conspiracy Theory >>

Crying Towel >>

In With the New(year) >>

Blaming the Holidays >>