I slipped outside last Sunday afternoon, too restless for a nap, too lazy to do laundry. Leaving the quiet air-conditioned comfort of our home for the heavy, humid Florida air I was temporarily sightless as my glasses fogged over. Mole-like, I stumbled up the driveway.
There was no purpose to my walk as I left the confines of Doright Manor and slowly trudged through the neighborhood, but I was struck as always by the abundance of foliage. A product of the semi-arid Texas panhandle where relatively few trees grow, I’m constantly amazed by the variety and the vigor of my surroundings.
Studly Doright and I do not live in a prettily manicured housing development. When we moved to Tallahassee we steered clear of what I’ve come to call “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. I don’t mean that term to be derogatory. Indeed, our home in Melbourne, Florida, was in such an area, and we appreciated the continuity of architecture and the strict guidelines that kept the community pristine.
This time, though, we knew we’d most likely be settling into retirement in this home, and Studly wanted a separate garage for the storage and care of his motorcycles. Most home owners’ associations won’t approve that sort of project, so we opted for a more loosely governed neighborhood.
We still have a neighborhood covenant with strict building guidelines, though. For example, the brick, roof, and windows on the shop had to precisely match our home, and we (meaning Studly) had to pore over tons of paperwork until he had the request for building approval worded just right.
And if the yards aren’t kept in a reasonably acceptable manner residents receive a nasty gram from the powers that be. So far we’ve managed to live up to our end of the bargain. So as I walked up our tree-shaded lane I noted one home in serious need of attention:
Several months back I stopped and spoke with the elderly woman who lived here. Her husband was in poor health and she was lonely. We visited for awhile and I gave her my address. I encouraged her to call if she needed me.
Well, not long after her husband passed away and her family placed her in a nursing home. My heart goes out to her. I can easily imagine Studly and me going through the same trials someday in the future.
I’m not so worried about neighborhood aesthetics, except our next door neighbor is trying to sell her home, and the neglected one down the street probably doesn’t help her efforts.
Not much I can do, but I have offered my services to help spruce the place up if we get the go ahead. It’s a tough thing–no one wants to step on anyone else’s toes.
I snapped a few more photos of our quiet neighborhood as I walked and perspired under the Florida sun. Now I need a shower!