Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Farm communication

Well I have written about farm etiquette in the past and I am afraid to report there is another 'city mouse--country mouse' faux pas to report. I am not sure where I went wrong but the end result is I have no mailbox and receive no mail. My husband says there is nothing wrong with not getting any mail. So this appears to be only  my problem.

It all started about four years ago when we bought the farm in Creemore, Ontario. ( That is right--no mail for four years. )We live on an isolated road and there is only one full time farm couple on that road and they are our neighbours. Most of the people are weekenders or 'gentleman farmers'. That is the polite term for people who pretend they are farmers. They sit in their geothermal heated century farmhouses and watch farmer toil the land as  Levin did in Anna Karenina. 

The bad part of this scenario is that robbers (I hope they aren't reading this blog) come during the week and empty homes of all of their contents and drive away to Toronto with big trucks full of pretend farm antiques and modern electronics. It is honestly such a problem that the insurance company has demanded that the farm down the road install a five thousand dollar electronic gate. We are lucky that we have full timers across the road so they can watch our house and we won't get the professional robbers.

But... There is always a but. They hate my guts. I am trying to retrace my steps to see how it happened. I think it started the the week we moved in. They dropped in with  a house warming gift of white flowered candle sticks. In the middle of the white flowers there were tiny, really tiny, smiling faces. That should have been my first tip off.

Allow me to back track. When we purchased the farm we ripped off the flowered wallpaper and the chandeliers that wore Marie Antoinette petticoats and dresses. We removed all of the life size angels ( I am talking over five feet ) and the antique spinning wheels, etc. All of the shag carpet was removed. I decorated it in a  sparse and shaker in style. When the neighbours, I'll call them the Smyth's, saw our redecorated  farm house they were remarkably unresponsive. I told them how I'd thrown out the straw dolls and ripped out all of the husarai (Yiddish for meaningless junk of the house.) I laughed about the carpet and the angels and said that even the junk dealer didn't want them. Of course this was my first big mistake for she had the same husari all over her house. I found this out when my husband came back from their farm house and said, everything we'd ripped out right down to the country sampler that said, home is where the heart is was duplicated in their home. Oops.

The next blunder was again innocent. The Smyth's have a dog named Murphy Brown ( I am not kidding. I could never have made that up.) It is a yappy lunatic that wears one of those collars that zaps it if it passes through the electric fence. So Murphy Brown tears up the fence threatening to kill me every time I go to my roadside mailbox which is on their side of the road. This isn't the worst of it. When the Smyth's go to church every Sunday, Murphy Brown sobs hysterically on the lawn at a pitch that could shatter glass. It goes on for hours. Once I was on the phone on my porch and my friend Linda asked, "Are they slaughtering pigs next to your lawn chair." Every Sunday we had to stay in our farm house to prevent us from getting tinitis from Murphy Brown's pitiable wail.

Now, oddly enough, when I was growing up we had a moronic dog named Willie who did the same screeching when my mother went out. He didn't care if I my father or I were at home. To Willie we were chopped liver. So whenever my mother went out she slipped Willie a valium. ( My father owned a drug store remember!)Willie would immediately crawled up on his ottoman by the window and quietly contemplated the universe. It got to the point that Willie would just open his mouth for a valium as soon as he saw my mother get the car keys and her purse.

Naturally I thought tranquillizing a canine was  an inspired solution to Murphy Brown's hysterics when the Smyths went to church on Sunday.  Inspired, I crossed the street and suggested that they opt for a Sunday Valium.  They closed their door and  have never spoken one word to me since.  I tried a piece offering at Christmas by trooping over in knee high snow with a fruit cake . However,  they declined saying that they couldn't accept it since they had no idea I might have put in it.

About a year later I was in the hardware store in town buying a stud finder ( the clerk and I had a lot of laughs over that item).  He said, "You know you never seemed so bad to me--I mean with what people are saying' about ya." When I asked him what he meant, he said, "You know given' addictive drugs to animals. " When I looked bewildered, he said, "Giving a watch dog drugs when it barks is like givin' a baby drugs when it cries."  The valium caper was clearly my second big mistake.

Next the  county road snowplow tore our mailbox off its  post in the winter for two years straight. After four repairs I gave up . Snowdrifts pile up on and in front of  the box  and the driver has no idea it is there. The County clerk suggested I move my mailbox next to the Smyths' since it is not in a drift spot.  Mrs.  Smyth's said she would never deign to have our mailbox in any proximity to hers.  I called the County clerk again and he  said that the Smyth's are wonderful people and Mrs. Smyth, the worst offender in my opinion, belonged to his church and they curled together.  He said she would never dislike anyone. He said he would talk to her and get back to me.

He called the following week to say , "Boy oh boy were you ever right! Mrs. Smyth hates you.  No mail for you-- good luck.