Our initial meeting of the neighbors to our rear was not a great one. The week before closing on the house, knowing all paperwork was filed and money was legit, the then owners allowed us to install our fence. We put stakes in the ground, ran lines, and set the fence in approximately a foot from the property line. In the midst of our driving posts into the ground, a rather petite and VERY northern sounding older lady blasts out of her house yelling at us. “This is OUR fence.” “Don’t you put anything on OUR fence.” OUR fence is 3 feet inside OUR property line.” This was not the neighborly beginning I had hoped for.
Fast forward several months. We are on speaking terms, and they ask us to keep an eye on their house while they spend the winter in Florida. I take down her number, expecting no incident, however a few months later we catch a someone hunting illegally on their land. We are officially their ‘neighbors’ now. We share produce. We banter over the fence. Renee (pronounced Ree-Nee) and Clark are really cool old folks. She’s from Brooklyn. He’s an old school farmer from North Carolina. They are here most of the year, but winter in Florida. Most notably, they, (like us) are an unmarried couple living in sin within direct sight of the Baptist church.
I’ve always had an objectionable relationship with the Baptist church. I was once told that I was going to hell simply because I had been sprinkled rather than immersed. Aside from my own feelings, they also don’t agree with my lifestyle choices, so we’ll call it a draw and move on.
After work this evening, as I’m peeling and chopping sweet potatoes, I get a call from Renee asking if I want to participate in “the shit hitting the fan”? She informs me that they have been attempting to negotiate with the neighboring Baptist church over their extremely high wattage spot lights that shine from the exterior side of their building into our yards. Truthfully, it IS light pollution. By those lights a person could sit in the yard and read a book in the dead of night. Tonight, the menfolk of the church came to see it for themselves….and I was granted admission to the festivities.
We put on shoes and the headlamp, walk to the fence (that we share), and are met by two men. They stood, arms crossed, admiring their steepled brick house of praise. I asked what they thought of the flooding illumination. One of them answered, “I love the light. I wish I had this at my house.” I couldn’t help it, but answered that I had moved to the country so I could enjoy God’s creation, including his night sky. The other man tells us that the lights were put up so they could watch their children. Before I could ask why their children would be playing in OUR yard, my fella says, “Why are your children playing at the church at 11pm?” Still a very valid question. With no answer, and having agreed that it is an excessive amount of light pollution outside of their property, they have agreed to shade or redirect their lights.
During this entire exchange, Clark was inside their house with the minister. I can only imagine the conversation went something like this: “Pastor, as you can see, your lights are rather bright. We’d like to see them redirected. Now I’m a completely reasonable man. Those two women out there on the other hand…….I make no promises.”