Monday, January 30, 2006


In Which There's A New Sheriff in Town...


(which in Latin means "Just when you thought I couldn't eke one more post out of this incident...")

And so peace slowly returned to our quiet little corner of Monopolis.

But not for everyone.

A week later, as Thomas and I were walking back from getting the mail, the Doohickeys waved to us. Dana, you'll recall, had been on hand for the second (and so far last) encounter between my family and Mrs. Belfry. We trotted over and said hello to her and her husband Danny.

"My mom knows Mrs. Bundt," said Dana. "Guess you made quite an impression when you met."

"Really?" I asked.

"She says you're going to the next committee meeting of the Neighborhood Watch."

"Oh," I said. "Well, she asked if I'd come and talk about what happened..."

"Yeah, well, we were thinking--" here she nudged her husband, who nodded immediately, "--that maybe it's time we started our watch group back up. Haven't had one since Mr. Reed died."

"John Reed..." I said.

At this Thomas looked up. "The Lone Ranger lived here?"

Danny looked up, startled, remembering our last conversation. "You know who that is, Thomas?"

Thomas looked at him and rattled off, "A fired-up horse with the speed of flight and a cloud of dust and a HiYOSILVER!" He took a breath. "Dad has him on DVD. He lived in the olden days and shot guys with silver bullets--but only in their hands. He had a guy with him called Toronto who got beat up a lot. His real name was John Reid but it was a secret."

(We watch an episode every Saturday morning. Come on! Can you honestly say DragonballZ is any better?)

"Anyway," continued Dana. "Me and Danny and the Hoosicks and the Najorks are all volunteering for the watch. And that fella Bill who works the night shift and wanders around at night on his days off. You know him?" I nodded. Blaze and I had had an encounter with him during the summer. "Well, he says he's up all night anyway, so why not?"

"That's great," I said. "I guess you guys want me to volunteer."

"Well," said Danny. "We sort of put you down as the block captain."

My mouth hung open just then. So did Thomas' but for completely different reasons.

"Well, I--" I began.

"Look, it's not that big a commitment. You got to three or four meetings a year. You're already going to one," said Dana. "And anyway, after the way you handled the Belfry thing, I think everyone in the neighborhood would pick you," she said. Danny nodded.

I thanked them kindly and said I'd think about it. First meeting is in three weeks.

As we walked back home, Thomas was all alight. "Dad!" he said. "Can you arrest people now?"

"No, of course not," I said. "But...well, the neighborhood does need a watch group. And I'm sick and tired of being blamed for other owners who let their dogs crap everywhere. And those damn kids who speed down Mediterranean Avenue..."

"You could do something about it! You'd be like the boss of our neighbors!" he cried. "You'd'd be the sheriff of them!"

I laughed. Somewhere inside me, the boy I was--the Boy Detective I was--rejoiced at the thought. I thought about it for a few minutes that night. Then I didn't think about it anymore.

Until the next morning.

Late for work, I grabbed an overcoat and something flashed before my eyes. I stopped, transfixed, and saw that Thomas had added something to my lapel. A favorite item of his--a souvenir of Texas in fact--from a dear family friend. My son sets great store by it.

And now so do I.


Reckon I'll be wearing it to that first meeting in three weeks.

Adios kemo sabe.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

Hey There MM... Glad to hear that things kinda worked out for you all... Hopefully your neighbor continues to take the meds but at least next time something like this happens again you know why and then maybe you can contact the husband and let him know...

So neighborhood watch... Nice... I work in a management company that manages HOA's and I know that is one thing we really do suggest to the HOA boards to get one of those things going...

Anywhos... glad to hear that things are a little better in the neighborhood...

Take care
Dude, that is awesome. Very nice star :D

And yes, you should be the block captain. It's pretty obvious. You've got the savvy, the people skills, the diligence, and the...shall we say resourcefulness required for such a position.
You just have the greatest kids in the world. And they have the greatest Dad. Nice going, mister...ya got heart swelled with this one.
Haha, I love it! That star rocks.
Oh, well, even if you weren't going to be the block captain before, you gotta now! You can't let a little guy down, now can you? That is one of the sweetest things I have read in a while!

cmhl sent me over here a few days ago and I have enjoyed getting to know you & your family.
I got all teary when I saw the badge. How great to have your son see you in that light. Thomas ROCKS. And so do you. Happy Watching!
KNEW that was coming! Now you can make everyone say "Aye, aye, Captain!" and such. :)
I must aadmit that I am being very selfish on this one. Everyone else is congradulating you and giving you kudos for being perfect for the job.


I'm thinking this is going to make for great future blog reading.
congraTulating...where's spell check when you need it?
Oh Sharfa, you know the rest of us are thinking the same thing...we're just hiding our selfishness away ;>
Here I had expected this wonderful I got you in the end sort of ending. I'm so sorry for MR Belfry and for her as well, still makes you have to stay on your toes even more doesn't it? This story sure made me happy I moved out to the country with neighbors just far enough away that I shouldn't have those worries. MM, I love your stories, they are some of the best I've ever read! Keep 'em coming.
Thomas pinned that Sherriff's star on your lapel of his own accord? That is so very cool. You've got one great kid there, MM. Maybe you should deputize him. I think he'd get a kick out of it.
Sorry, buy my favourite part of this one was the Lone Ranger's friend Toronto! Of course, I live in the Tdot so I am a little biased. You and your son are going to have the best stories to tell as he grows!
I live in a suburb of Los Angeles, and our street is quiet. That is due in part to the guy who lives uphill from me. He's the unnoficial block captain, the one we depend on to remind us to move our cars when we forget about street cleaning. He has my respect. We went by last Christmas to give him and his wife a Harry And David's basket and he welcomed us in and gave us Guatamalan Ponch and chicken tamales (cooked by his wife)... I don't know what will happen to you as Block Captain, but I know that you will help people and make them feel better. A toast to you, and a tip of the cap.
My boys know all the words to John Wayne's movies, so i guess The Lone Ranger should come next. I love that Art Lad added it to your coat without your knowing it. Precious.
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