We live in a retty ratty side of town. Whenever Clancy meets a new patient who lives within proximity to us, she internally groans. We have a really nice house, but it’s on a quadruple lot. A couple blocks down are trailer parks and houses that were smaller than I thought they made houses that weren’t trailers. Most of our neighbors seem to either be older folks, young folks who inherited property they couldn’t otherwise afford to buy, or groups of young people living together.
The houses to our south have a more suburban and family sort of atmosphere, though. But our house faces north and is on the north side of the yard. So they’re mostly people we just see through the back window.
It’s a shame because the location is pretty handy. We’re catacorner to the elementary and middle schools. We’re less than a five minute walk to the high school. Maybe a ten minute walk to downtown. On the west side is a neighborhood of large and expensive houses, a little bit closer to downtown though farther from the schools. It seems likely that if we were to stay in Callie, that’s where we would end up. If I got my way, anyway. If Clancy gets hers, we’d end up on some vast stretch of land outside of town.
Strangely enough, three of the four people who lived adjacently to us do not live adjacently to us anymore.
Across the street was a family that just seemed to disappear one night, leaving their dog behind. The dog would howl up a storm. I would have been worried, but someone was stopping by to take care of him. So I was more annoyed. I wondered if it might be a vacation, but who vacations in March in a place where there’s no Spring Break? They finally came back and started moving stuff. They were replaced, very briefly, by a couple of military guys. They didn’t stay. I don’t think they were meant to, as there was a “For Sale” sign up a day or two after they arrived. Now it’s a vacancy.
Next to us on the west is a college professor who is part of a really, really small gay community. Possibly a gay community of one. He drove a Cooper Mini, which is not a common car in these parts. We got along with him pretty well, though we didn’t have a whole lot in common with him. He’s retiring and moving to New England after having lived here for a whopping twenty years. Interestingly enough, Buck Branson lives next door to him. Buck was until recently a right-wing city councilman (and the reason we have a 15-mph speed limit on our road). Buck and Gayprof actually got along, though. The new occupants are a couple of young twenty-somethings that I have almost never seen.
On the other side was, until recently, an elderly woman. She and I have talked on occasion. She’s told me some about Callie’s history, her family, and so on. She’s also talked about our health care system, intimated that doctors these days are a lazy bunch (yes, she knew my wife is a doctor), and was in general someone who has determined that, at age 93, too old to keep any of her opinions to herself. Which made talking with her difficult, if informative about the town’s history (which, of course, includes a mysterious murder). Her house was invaded by her extended family that were picking the place clean and it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen her in a while. Sure enough, she died. The turnaround on the house was very quick. The new owner is apparently going to divide-and-rent it. It honestly seems like a pretty small place to try to do that.