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  • Despite the pretty setting, on the lake and all, it was a difficult place to live. We always seemed to be in trouble with the Town. Leaves had to be bagged in the Fall. I hated that. It made no sense. One year I protested, and refused to bag our leaves. A letter showed up from Town Hall. What now? A deadline to dispose of our leaves, or we’d be fined. By then, I was too busy with work and commitments in the city, and didn’t have time.

    Mike, the old guy next door, was looking for work and a little extra money, so I paid him to handle the leaves. Each day he’d be out there raking. Big yard – tons of leaves. He’d rake them into the large corral I’d constructed for the failed “keeping the dogs outside” experiment. This would keep them from blowing around the neighborhood until he got around to bagging them all up.

    One evening while eating dinner, we heard what sounded like a large truck outside. Then a horn. Flashing lights. Look out the front door. It’s a fire engine? Oh my God, the yard’s on fire! Neighbors milling all about as the fire department extinguished the blaze licking the trees from the corral. A real eerie scene, very unreal.

    Off to the side of the corral, I spy Mike standing there, dragging on a smoke, looking sheepish. “What’s up, Mike?”

    He looks around to make sure no one else is looking, and indicates through pantomime, that he’d tossed a match on the leaves. Oh, brother! I had to laugh. It was his own little form of protest. I guess I couldn’t deny him that. But, I did dock his pay for the leaf-raking work!

    I’d really come to hate living there.
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