Right in my own backyard

My parents put up a fence between us and the troubled family next door. Even so, branches from the shady tree in their yard hung over into ours. So my dad pruned them. They were on our property, he reasoned, and that gave him the right to trim a tree that wasn’t his. Similarly, I guess, if your neighbor’s fruit tree dangles apples above your lawn, you’re entitled to pick them, eat them, bake them in a pie.

Did I mention that my dad went to Jesuit schools?

In any event, this struck me as dubious logic. Don’t the apples belong to the neighbor regardless of where they hang? Is the tree really ours to trim, or is that just a convenient rationale for keeping our yard sunny?

I am riding the 7:42 train out of Cortlandt. A woman takes the seat in front of me. She gathers her long dark hair and flicks it over the seatback. My dad’s pruning shears come to mind, and with them, the question of physical boundaries. I take extra care to ensure that the edge of my Times does not graze her tresses, but not without resentment (petty, I’m sure).


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3 Responses to “Right in my own backyard”

  1. Jill Finsen Says:

    I say pruning is a good thing including the on the train our to Cortlandt.

  2. Pam Kimmerling Hoveling Says:

    One time I was on the train and my Times grazed a distinguished executive’s bald head– he was not amused and took his own Times folded it and swatted it over his head and onto my “space” to get my attention. At the end of the ride he left his paper on the seat. My husband was not amused and told him “excuse me, you left your paper.” The guy proceeded to curse us both out. AHHH I am glad to not be riding the LIRR- my blood pressure has improved vastly! On another note I would let the branches grow so as not to compromise the tree, and pick the apples and enjoy the pie- and perhaps give one to my troubled neighbor– would that be in accordance with Jesuit teaching?

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