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.
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.
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.
Fixed a security light.
For two years, tilled and planted a garden with drip irrigation system. Was
told it was too much work to harvest the produce.
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.
Attached handles and springs on fence gate along with chain for holding open
when carrying in groceries.
Ran an a electrical line during power outage.
Cut dead limbs from trees.
Sowed grass seeds in barren spots.
Cooked dishes when told Mrs. Brown was sick, e.g., chicken and dumplings.
On St. Pats day, took over a pot of cornbeef and cabbage.
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
For one Christmas, my wife and I spent about $100 purchasing custom signs
for her "Mrs. Brown Childcare"
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.
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