Gifts of Money and Time for an Ungrateful Neighbor

Over the years from 2003 to 2011, there was one neighbor that I did more for than all the rest of the neighbors combined. She was a widow with low income. I saw helping her as a way of repaying my great-grandmother who was a poor widow who raised me.

The following is a partial list of the things my wife and I did for her.

  1. Cut down two trees that had started leaning toward her house at a market cost of $7000. I could have save time and money by doing nothing since her insurance would have paid for the damage, not mine.
  2. Re-landscaped her sloping backyard which had become an erosion problem with over 12" of fill against her deck. Removed the dirt. Installed a drain. Installed a walkway. Using landscrape timbers, terraced the slope by trucking 15 cubic yards of dirt and topsoil.
  3. Fixed a security light.
  4. For two years, tilled and planted a garden with drip irrigation system. Was told it was too much work to harvest the produce.
  5. Placed a entryway concrete walkway to replace some flagstones haphazardly thrown up the ground. Lined walkway with whitestones as well as planted two rows of bushes.
  6. Attached handles and springs on fence gate along with chain for holding open when carrying in groceries.
  7. Shoveled snow.
  8. Ran an a electrical line during power outage.
  9. Cut dead limbs from trees.
  10. Sowed grass seeds in barren spots.
  11. Cooked dishes when told Mrs. Brown was sick, e.g., chicken and dumplings.
  12. On St. Pats day, took over a pot of cornbeef and cabbage.
  13. On election night 2008, took over a tray of liquor bottles for Mrs. Brown, relatives and friends to celebrate the election of the first black US President. Repeatedly, gave Mrs. Brown shots of Chivas Regal when she requested at other times.
  14. For one Christmas, my wife and I spent about $100 purchasing custom signs for her "Mrs. Brown Childcare"
  15. For one Christmas, I have a granddaughter several pairs of expensive Argyle socks from the early 1970's that were in my closet--Argyles had come back into style among high schoolers.
  16. On several occasions when her car did not work, I gave Mrs. Brown to my car so she would have some transportation.

My helping Mrs. Brown stopped in late 2011 when one morning I was in a 70ft manlift cutting dead limbs from trees that could harm my wife, neighbors and visitors, a machine that had a $700/day rental cost. For reasons I have never understood--dementia?--Mrs. Brown came out and started yelling at me like I was a dog. At one point she referred to a neighbor as a "white bitch." Shocked, I stopped cutting because the induced stress was too shocking to continue a dangerous activity.

I have not done a thing for Mrs. Brown since that morning. Because she did not apologize I stopped talking to her. Increasingly since that time, she has gone out of her way to disrupt my life. Perhaps the cost of legal action against her will stop her pettiness. But, one thing for sure, I won't do anything willingly as a volunteer for a racist which Mrs. Brown has proven to be.