Last night I was talking with my friend Jay.
No, not the one I work with who had a pickup truck tire and wheel combination slam into the side of his house, crack his siding and break out a window.
The other Jay — the one who wanted help installing a wireless router for his wifi laptop and didn’t realize his DSL modem was already broadcasting wifi.
Anyway, last night he was telling me about his across-the-street neighbors. These folks seem to like their privacy, since they planted a hedge all around their property and have let it grow very high. Then, a few months ago, they put a solid metal gate across their driveway, blocking the one remaining view of any of their property from the outside.
No one else among Jay’s neighbors seems to know much about the people who live behind this barrier. In fact, no one is sure who they are or how many of them live there. At various times Jay and his spouse have seen people (male and female) come out to the curb-side mailbox to pick up their mail, and different vehicles have been observed coming and going.
Jay told me that every once in a while he’ll be outside when someone appears from that metal gate. He’ll wave and say something innocuous, like, “Good morning.” The neighbors will respond with a wave and little else before disappearing back behind their hedge.
I said, “Well, so what? A lot of folks like their privacy.”
Jay agreed, but then wondered aloud why they occasionally fired what sounded like a shotgun.
“What!?” I was incredulous.
Jay remained matter-of-fact. I guess he was used to the idea. “Oh, yeah, a couple of times we’d be sitting inside, watching TV or whatever, and BOOM! You know; not the sharp crack of a rifle or a pistol, but a deeper sound. We’ve talked to some of the other neighbors, and they all think it’s a shotgun.”
I immediately asked if Jay thought they had a marijuana garden behind that hedge. He rubbed his chin. “Could be,” he offered.
“Doesn’t that bother you? You’ve got children! Don’t you think you ought to notify the police or the sheriff’s office?”
He thought about that, but said, “Nah. Far as I know they haven’t done any harm. But I don’t want it getting back to them that I called the cops on ‘em.”
I couldn’t help but think of a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
“If your neighbors live behind a big ol’ hedge and let off a shotgun blast ever’ now and then... And you don’t know how many of ’em live there... And that doesn’t bother you... Then you might be...”