Kenosha, WI would not be my final destination of choice. Whether on the south side which is constant activity or this north side that is mock suburbia. When and if I decide to ‘settle’ down, it will definitely be in a rural setting that is real, not imagined. And, it will be with a vehicle. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a suburban soccer mom without the mini-van. I’ve NEVER been much of a suburbanite. We (the suburban females and I) don’t quite see eye to eye on much. For that matter, I suppose I don’t I have much in common with the males either. One of the current things we differ on is what constitutes crazy.
We’ve been in this house 60 days. Since school started in early September, I’ve been walking to the end of the block to get my 5-year-old grandson off the school bus. As with any other state, if the taxpayers pick up the bill, jobs take triple time. Consequently, our road has been closed since the first day of school so the child cannot be dropped off in front of his house like all the others. Thankfully, the weather has been good for walking—and standing on corners.
That’s what I do every afternoon—stand on the corner and wait for the bus. “Some” people have waved, some said hello, one struck up a courteous conversation. Other than that, most drive by, walk by, or peek through their curtains with suspicious looks as to why a woman is standing on the corner. Everyday they give these looks. You’d think that by now they’d know why. I think now though they have a different, more sinister reason for peeking.
A couple of weeks ago a woman came out as I was walking back with the kid. She not only said hello to me but to the child as well, and asked him if he wanted to see chickens. Possibly, if his mother didn’t have a friend who lived on a farm, this may have interested him, but he’s seen chickens up close and personal before, so it was no big deal. It was however, a big deal to me. I LIKE the idea of self-sufficiency and locally grown. I was extremely surprised that she had a chicken coop in the middle of a sub-division.
She informed me that they’ve given her a hard time and tried to ticket her, but her father built the house years before and she is one of a few that are not part of the city and are still county. She has three huge lots, one that the house sits on, one that is a beautifully landscaped yard with wrought iron benches under trees and one that is wildflowers and brush. This last one she is constantly working in and which hides her garden and chicken coop from view of the street.
She’s taken to meeting us everyday and walking down the street with us. She asks the kid what he learned in school and we talk about wars, government policies, people and religious beliefs. Our landlord asked my daughter why her mother is ‘hanging’ with the crazy woman. The few people, who did speak to me on passing, now turn their heads and don’t even acknowledge my presence.
There is another empty lot next to hers that she was thinking of buying until they gave her a ticket for planting wildflowers and told her to “not put anymore garbage there.” The lot is ‘legally’ not wide enough to build so it sits empty. I made mention that it would be a terrific place for a community garden rather than waste the land. She said, “No way. That’ll never happen. This is NOT a community.”
So, if my ‘neighbors’ think that crazy constitutes having chickens to supply your personal eggs instead of buying commercial eggs that have salmonella, I don’t agree. If they think that planting wildflowers is “garbage,” I don’t agree. If they think making friends with the new folks on the block is crazy I don’t agree. My idea of crazy is hiding behind your curtains peering or driving by staring at a woman who is waiting for a school bus. My idea of crazy is not embracing differences. My idea of crazy is having preconceived notions and leaving no room for growth. Not a woman who hand-writes letters at dawn and gives one to that new neighbor saying how refreshing it is to meet someone who talks honestly, and that it has made her days better.
Now really, does that sound crazy to you??