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charles dowdy

Amending the Neighborhood Constitution
by Charles W. Dowdy

My wife and I have been forced to move to a new house. No, it had nothing to do with those silly charges brought by the animal rights people regarding our little horses. I thought selling lemonade on bareback was an enterprising idea, showing real ambition by my kids. Who knew the horses’ little hooves would get stuck in the tracks at the railroad crossing? And, quite frankly, it’s been eons since that train ran on time.

(If any of you question my sincerity on the subject of the horses, not unlike a certain gentleman from the government, we held a formal ceremony and buried their remains in matchboxes decorated by the children.) Actually, my older sister has forced this relocation.

Imagine my consternation upon learning this so-called sibling of mine decided to move her brood into a house just down the street from my parents?

Of all the nerve! You have to know my sister to understand what a terrible development this is. My sister uses an old style of parenting. With her new location she would only have to wave her red cape at the end of the grandparent’s driveway, then watch as her little heathens completely overwhelm my parents. Did I mention that her children are half Scottish? The Scots have a history of warfare and social unrest that is visibly evident in these two little boys. Quite frankly, I’m concerned for my parents’ health.

Admittedly these two are not the grandparents they used to be. They are always so TIRED! A few years ago we could not keep these people off our doorstep. Now I think they would more readily have coffee and pastries with the Khmer Rouge than spend time with our kids. We are forced to constantly remind them of this fleeting opportunity they have to develop a relationship with our children. Obviously with my sister threatening to monopolize what paltry time the grandparents allow for the kids something had to be done.

So I bought a house right across the street from her.

It was only common sense that I do so, especially considering the current glut in the babysitting market. There is rampant unprofessional behavior in those ranks today, with its practitioners frequently employing phrases such as “never again in a million years” and “I’m speaking to a lawyer about this.” And do you really think I feel comfortable leaving my children in the care of a woman who described them as “little monsters straight from hell?” Well, a deal was a deal and we were only going to the movie… then we ran into some old friends and ten at night turned into two in the morning but since when did these babysitters get to be so darn inflexible? And money hungry? It’s not exactly skilled labor. What did she expect to get paid for sitting there and exposing my kids to Fox’s latest reality show… minimum wage?

It was only after moving in that I found out this neighborhood has covenants. Covenants are silly little rules that everyone in the neighborhood must obey.

For example, your children must be dressed at all times. There I am, sitting on the front steps watching the twins play in the front yard, and some representative of the covenant police tells me I’m in violation. In my defense I asked her to point out where in the neighborhood Constitution it says that diapers are not clothing. She said it violated the spirit of the document. Cop out!

Oh, and this is my favorite, there can be no fences on the borders of your property. This wonderful little rule has led to herds of well-bred dogs marauding about the neighborhood, getting into trashcans and nuzzling any and all crotches they can find. To keep my own dogs at bay I was forced to put in one of those underground electric lines and purchase these huge collars that shock the dogs when they try to cross it. In hindsight, putting the collars on the children as well was not the best of ideas. The way the media swarmed the neighborhood was amazing, and those heartless animals at Hard Copy used their helicopter to herd the children into the shock zone. It turns out that creating a media circus is also in violation of the neighborhood covenants.

Obviously these covenants are outdated and archaic. Being the diplomat I am I set out to schedule a meeting with the gentleman who wrote these covenants, only to discover he was dead, which created something of a problem. Now I have begun a ground roots campaign to amend the neighborhood Constitution. I’m happy to say it has received tremendous support from my father. For some reason he’s thinking of fencing in his yard.


Charles Dowdy is the father of four and the husband of one. He’s a freelance columnist for several Mississippi newspapers. Editors may contact him at cwdowdyjr@yahoo.com.

Charles Dowdy's web site is not to be missed! He has to be one of the funniest, most irreverent writers in the South . . . or anywhere. Go see!

For more stories by Charles Dowdy, visit these USADS pages:
Goodby, Debt; Hello, Ricecakes
The Waiting Room War Zone
Small Towns & The 3 Second Intersection Rule
President Bush, Sponge Bob, and a Banana
The Twins Journal
Teeball Dad
Whatcha Doin'?


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