Dealing with unruly neighbors can be the bane of living in the suburbs. For the most part, things seem friendly. People welcome new home owners with freshly baked pies, warm chocolate chip cookies, and a bright smile! Offering friendship is as easy as breathing for “the folks on the block,” and although there might be a few petty arguments now and then, for the most part living in a small community is an easy thing to do…that is until you end up next to people like THIS guy…
My grandmother got married in 1962, to a young man in the military. For a wedding present, their parents bought them a house in a nice suburb. White picket fence, whole 9 yards.
Not long after they moved in, the next door neighbor planted a mulberry tree on the side of his property, near my grandparent’s drive-way. Nothing seemed amiss, but if you know Mulberry Trees, you know that things are about to get serious…
About 15 years later, the mulberry tree was obnoxious. The birds would come and eat the berries, and any car parked in the drive-way would get pooped on, and it would stain the cars and ruin paint jobs.
My grandmother, upon realizing the culprit, baked a nice apple pie, walked next door, and asked the neighbor if he’d mind trimming back the branches of the tree that hung over her driveway. He told her not to worry, he’d get to it soon. Three days later, my grandmother opened her door to find a half-eaten pie in the plate, crawling with ants, and a note that said “I changed my mind.”
My grandmother threw out the pie, cursing up a storm, and swearing up and down she’d get him to trim that tree or get him back. City ordinance said she could not trim the tree, as the roots were on his property, so the whole tree was his property.
As the years went by, my grandmother repeatedly asked him, ever so nicely, to trim it back. His responses were always along the lines of “No” and “stop asking.”
Finally, in the mid-90s, my grandmother retired, and received a large bonus from her employer for her 35 years of work. She took the money, and bought the empty lot on the other side of the neighbor, then went to a nursery and bought 16 mullberry trees, planting them along her property line, on both sides of his property.
About 3 years ago, he became angry at the damage they were doing to his cars, and cut them all back without permission. My grand-mother took him to court, and he was forced to reimburse her for the trees at a markup because they’d had 10 years to grow.
Her revenge may have taken 30 years, but by the time she was through with this rude and selfish neighbor, he will have wished that he had kept his end of the bargain! The elderly really know how to get their revenge – this guy should have seen it coming long before now! And this whole debacle taught me a very valuable lesson…don’t plant mulberry trees!
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