When we last convened, Hick was eagerly awaiting the Process Server so he could trick Crazy Dude, the unbalanced neighbor, into accepting a court order preventing him from contact with our other neighbor, Bev. Yeah. Maybe he shouldn't get involved. But Hick's a people person. And it takes a village to put the kibosh on swastika-touting nut-jobs.
Friday, Hick was expecting the Process Server at noon. Hick would drive the tractor, Process Server would follow in the Gator, they'd blade the gravel on the road that runs past Crazy Dude's house, and he'd be drawn outside, and served with the order. In theory.
I came back from town just after noon, and saw a car parked in the BARn field, and figured Process Server was there, and all systems were go. I carried my groceries in through the kitchen door, and didn't look out front for the tractor. At 1:30, I called Hick to see if everything was okay.
"HOS and I are waiting out here for the Process Server. He hasn't called. I'm about to get fed up with him. It looks like rain, now. I'm not riding the tractor up there in a storm."
Turns out Process Server was running late. He didn't get here until after 4:00. But they carried out the mission anyway, under darkening skies.
Hick drove the tractor past the entrance to Crazy Dude's driveway. He went on up the road, blading, planning to turn around and come back like normal. He's been meaning to blade the road for a couple weeks, but didn't want to deal with Crazy Dude, who always comes out and demands to know what he's doing.
[This road has been there for many years, before any of us bought property out here. It's not like we're driving across his yard. It's a two-mile piece of road that connects two blacktop county roads. Like a creek or waterway, nobody owns the road, even though they may own land on either side of it. We all use it, and many common county residents who don't live here use it as a shortcut. Not that we want them to. We, the property-owners, maintain it.]
HOS rode the 4-wheeler, and Process Server drove the Gator. He got out and started shoving gravel around with the rake. HOS said that Crazy Dude must have come out as soon as Hick went by on the tractor. Crazy Dude was standing at his fence, leaning his elbows on the top, watching.
[Let the record show that Process Server, in the following exchange, used his real name, and Crazy Dude's real name.]
"How are you doing today, Crazy."
"I'm doing okay."
"My name is Process Server." He held out his hand to shake. Crazy Dude shook. Process Server took out the envelope. "Are you Crazy Dude?"
"No. That's not my name. I'm not Crazy Dude." With that, Crazy Dude backed off the fence.
Process Server held out the envelope with the court order. Crazy Dude did not reach out. Process Server dropped them in front of him. Crazy Dude turned and walked back through the woods to his house.
"Crazy Dude, you have been served," said Process Server. He turned to HOS. "You might have to appear in court as a witness if there's an issue." HOS said that was no problem.
HOS and Process Server took off up the road to warn Hick. "Take the tractor back home," said HOS. "He went up to his house. We don't know what he's gonna do. He might be getting a gun. He stared at me the whole time, once Process Server said his name. He didn't take the papers. They're laying by his fence."
Process Server left to fill out his paperwork. That's why Hick wanted to use somebody who does this for a living. The judge had said anybody could serve the papers, but the serving paperwork had to be done correctly, or the order wouldn't be any good.
Hick and HOS came to the house. To my dark basement lair, to be exact, to tell me the story. Oh, and because Hick was going into his basement workshop on the other side of my office wall, to get into the gun safe for a shotgun for HOS. Actually, for HOS's wife. Not that we're gun-toting inbreds or anything. But Crazy Dude was looking in HOS's windows when they first moved in. And HOS doesn't want any trouble from him now that he's madder than usual, and HOS works nights, and his wife and 7-year-old son are there alone.
Of course, once that chore was done, Hick left for the auction. "I'll lock the doors for you."
"You call me if you hear anything," said HOS. "I'll be down here in a jiffy."
You can't be too careful when you live in the middle of nowhere.
That court order was to inform Crazy Dude that he has to stay away from Bev until the next hearing date in July. It's a temporary restraining order, with the hearing date for Crazy Dude to present his side before it becomes permanent. If he initiates contact with Bev, he'll get locked up.
Of course, a restraining order is just a piece of paper. You can be deader than a doornail before the police can get here to enforce it. I suppose it can discourage most people from making contact, and make most people feel safer to have one in effect.
Can't we all just get along? I don't mean roast marshmallows over a bonfire and sing Kumbaya. You're never going to get along with everyone you encounter in life. But you don't have to put sticks in the road to make one lane impassable, either. Or hang a swastika on the edge of your property facing your neighbor's house, after telling her you believe in "Hitler's final resolution."