The town boasted manicured lawns dotted with vibrant circles of flowers. Blue and yellow Colonial homes demanded no attention, at least not from an onlooker's viewpoint. It was perfect ~ just the place to raise our family. Envisioning the kids and their neighborhood pals playing kickball amongst the grand oaks was all the assurance we needed to make the move. Yes... the town of Jacob's Crossing was full of charm. So much charm, in fact, that Caledonia Court, the neglected trailer park, was easy to ignore.
Disappointment arrived, however, when our dream for a home in the midst of new friends was crushed as we realized we were financially restricted. A modest fixer-upper bedecked with faded maroon shutters appealed enough to seal the deal and replenish our purse. Double rows of Leyland cypress ran the property line adjoining Caledonia, and we were thankful for them as well as for the opposite direction in which our house faced.
Time passed and we settled in nicely. Scrapbooking pictures of Jeremiah's homerun or quilting a few squares on the cathedral window quilt kept me occupied. I found great contentment in my hobbyist ways and never dreamed a new pastime would emerge, one which brought no satisfaction! It was like sand trapped in a tennis shoe ~ rubbing, pressing, irritating, and blistering, encouraging anger and resentment.
"Oooh, those idiots back there, Mark...everyday I collect a trashbag of emptied
Budweiser cans and Heineken bottles! How dare they throw them onto our property!"
Mark's response was typical ~ a slight roll of the eyes, a twitch of the mouth, and a half-audible grunt, merely symptoms of annoyance over missing 15 seconds of ESPN's Top 10.
"What will the church members say? This has to stop now!"
My thoughts became obsessed with plotting schemes. Calling law enforcement seemed impractical, a slap on the wrist with no result. Even propositions of erecting a 20-foot jail-style fence roofed with barbwire was unsuccessful...just more eye-rolling and head shaking from Mark.
The only option was for me to catch the culprits red-handed and give them a good tongue-lashing. Mark was not able to participate (the Bass Master Classic had him hooked to the TV.), so I elected to enlist new recruits - Jeremiah and Alyssa. I know, I know...it was a little out of the ordinary engaging my own children, but it just made me feel safer. Of course, I had no intention to mandate their participation...other than call for backup!
Recruitment was delayed somewhat. Apparently Mark's genes had rubbed off on the children since GI Joe's escape from a rock tomb and changing the babydoll's diaper were top priority in the kid's minds. A little persuasion goes a long way though. Bubble-Yum promises and recruitment speeches for sightseeing excursions peaked their interest to the point of enlistment.
Two yellow-bellied lizards and one swallowtail later, the kids were absorbed in sightseeing activities. I was distracted ~ my eyes peeled for the trash-tossers.
The kids didn't hear it, but I did ~ a moaning cat. Deceitful ears, honest eyes. Peeling back the branches of the cypress, I witnessed a frail boy huddled behind a massive stone. His shoulder-length hair and unkempt clothes matched his mournful demeanor. My soul lurched and my hand extended to offer him comfort. But then I saw the source of my anger...his hands clutched a plastic bag crammed with an alcoholic's remains. I shrunk back as resentment surfaced.
"Are you okay?"
Unsuspecting, he whirled around and held my gaze. His reaction to glare at my intrusiveness and his defiance to respond or wipe away his tears startled me.
This paled in comparison though to the discovery my eyes found as they searched his.
He was empty.
His soul was void.
"Did you get everything straightened out with the trailer park trash?" my friend asked while waiting for Bible study to begin. "No pun intended!"
"Yeah, I did a little sight-seeing yesterday and discovered there wasn't any trash in my backyard after all."
Jeanne furrowed her eyebrows. I smiled. Pointing to the cross, I offered a solution for her confusion.
"I wasn't seeing too clearly, Jeanne, but He took off my rose-colored glasses and restored my vision!"
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