Good Neighbor in Eighty-Eight Words
I live what can only appropriately be said kitty-corner from a small Catholic elementary school with maybe 200 students, max. The school is part of the Catholic church campus, whose footprint covers a small city block.
The view from my front window looks out on the school’s parking lot/four square/kick ball/basketball courts and playground area. It can be a rather noisy place during recesses, and when school is dismissed for the day. Traffic, which is usually light in the neighborhood, is rather gridlocked at school dismissal time, and during masses.
When I first moved into my home, the school’s basketball hoops were basically useless. The rims were raised about twelve feet in the air, and no nets hung from the rims.
Because I had young boys into basketball, and desired that the hoops be functional for my boys use, I walked over to the school one day to search out the principal. When I was ushered into the principal’s office, after introductions I asked him why the basketball hoops were raised so high as to basically be useless. He gave me two reasons. One, budget constraints, and two, neighborhood kids, far beyond the elementary age, abusing the rims after school hours and during the summer months.
I asked the principal if he and the school would allow me to set the hoops to regulation height and hang nets, on my nickel. The principal was amenable to this, but still had concern about those neighborhood kids abusing the rims after school hours and during the summer months. I appreciated his concern, so I informed him that because my home afforded me a view of the basketball courts and playground area, I would take it upon myself to be the monitor during these after school hours.
My offer to watch over the hoops to prevent abuse sealed the deal, so I adjusted the height of the hoops to ten feet, hung nets, and then occasionally had a chat with neighborhood kids who were treating the hoops as jungle gym equipment, rather than as bastketball hoops.
So, yesterday afternoon, I amble out to my truck to head out to one of my favorite local wine/liquor/bakery shops for a baquette and fifth of bourbon. I jump into the truck, shove the key into the ignition, look up and see a folded sheet of paper tucked under the wiper, passenger side. Dang, I think, some type of propaganda from a lawn service or local pizza shop.
Since I don’t want that thing flapping around as I head down the road, I jump back out of the truck, walk to the passenger side to grab the paper, and that’s when I see my windshield has a baseball sized crack in the upper passenger side. Shit. I yank the folded sheet of paper from under the wiper blade, thinking how in the heck did that happen, and what is this stupid propaganda in my hand?
Grumbling under my breath about the window, I unfold the paper as I head around to jump back in the truck, and then stop in my tracks. It’s a note from the Catholic school principal, addressed “Dear Neighbor.”
The note explains, in eighty-eight (88) words including the salutations, that during the recess kick ball game one of the kids had sent the ball sailing across the fence and directly into the windshield of my truck. The note also states that the school is apologetic, takes full responsibility, and that the school intends to pay to replace the windshield.
The note also says if I have any other questions or concerns, just to give the principal a call. I don’t think I need to. I’ve made arrangements to have the windshield replaced, curbside, in view of the school, Monday morning. The principal will have a check for the windshield replacement company. Good neighbor.