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105 Freedom of Speak

Freedom of Speak



Every morning our country-crooner dog, Loretta, barks to be let out. The other two dogs, Patsy and Willie, join in the chorus with their high-pitch howls. This amusing ritual inside our house never gets old. There was a time when their free spirited canine concerto was forbidden.

We’d moved out of our starter house to a larger one with a fenced yard in an unrestricted neighborhood. After about a year we had everything decorated and landscaped the way we wanted it, UNTIL neighbors moved in behind us…

I arrive home from work and let the dogs out while I change from my work clothes. Loud anxious barking interrupts my routine. I peer out my bedroom window and see the dogs huddled at one end of the chain link fence. Their territory is being threatened. My eyes follow their line of sight. A man is yelling at them from his backyard patio.

I put my work shirt back on and dash outside to pacify the situation. I hush the dogs. Before I can utter an introduction, our new neighbor bellows, “Keep those dang dogs quiet.”

“I’m so sorry for the disturbance. They’ll settle down after they get used to you being here.”

With a grumble, he stalks into his house. Jeez, that was not an ideal way to make a first impression for either of us. I jog back into my house to make another attempt to change clothes. From my bedroom, I hear the dogs resume their barking. Now what? I look out the window again. The man now lurks on his back porch with a beer screaming at my dogs. In reply to his elevated volume, their barks are louder. This guy is a real moron, so much for good impressions. In my comfort clothes, I march with determination to resolve this issue. I round up the trio and secure them inside.

On my way back to the fence, I convince myself to try a proper greeting by offering my name. This six foot two Neanderthal piece a work, growls, “I don’t care what the hell your name is Missy, just keep your damn dogs quiet!”

I gather all of my five feet nothing and counter, “You’re the one who’s provoking them by shouting.” He said, “Provoke this,” grabbed his male danglers and called me a string of absurd names. Clearly, he is a man with a limited vocabulary. I mutter a feminine hygiene insult and decide right then I would not be offering him any ‘welcome to the neighborhood’ muffins! Hopefully he has a reasonable wife.

As my husband’s truck pulls into the garage, I’m calmer thanks to the affects of a delightful glass (or two) of red wine. I sit him down and fill him in. Incensed, puffs of smoke curl out of his ears, he jumps up, “Fetch my Super X Pump Winchester rifle.

“Rifle? Uh, dear, you don’t own a rifle, or any guns for that matter.”

He flops back on the couch, “Oh yeah. I hate guns.”

We all go together for the after dinner doggie outing. The dogs bark as they race to the back of the fence to exercise their protective curiosity. The new family is outdoors. Our dogs will cease barking once the threat is reduced. But the hellion man and his two kids feed the fury by shrieking at our dogs. The lady of the house retreats inside. Coward! Mr. Man throws a large rock at our dogs. Okay it’s a beer koozie. It could have been a rock.
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105 Freedom of Speak