The Hacienda is a rectangle, so it has four sides. It is two long lots that abut, and a brick wall encloses the whole shebang.
It runs lengthwise from the street out front to the street out back, making it a block deep. The house itself sits in the southwest corner.
Were we to start over, we would do everything differently.
Our task today is to gaze upon the neighbors. In the decade we’ve lived here, things have changed, people have come and gone, often in a hearse.
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Out back, only visible from one small window in the upstairs bathroom, we look into a large lot across the street where some poor people live. Or perhaps not so poor because they recently installed a wall around their place too.
But we can see over it.
They used to have a brick kiln, and that was their business, making bricks. But it polluted, and City Hall made them stop. Good.
The guy now drives a taxi part-time, and just this morning I noticed a mountain of plastic bottles over there.
Now they’re recyclers?
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Sex motel and Abel
The sex motel on the left sits on what was once a vacant lot of grass. A cow grazed there, and swarms of houseflies flew.
I like the sex motel. It’s quiet, and it provides us free security. Sometimes people leave the curtains open. That gives both me and them a thrill.
Before the motel, we could see across the lot to the house beyond. That’s where Abel lives. He’s the deadpan man who mows our grass in summertime. His wife, who seems nice, and a couple of kids live there too.
There’s also an older guy who’s the dad of either Abel or his wife. Don’t know which. We don’t socialize. We don’t even chitchat. But the older guy is quite friendly, and we wave and smile on passing. We live in different worlds.
I remember before the sex motel went up. Behind Abel’s house, which I cannot see any longer, there was an outhouse. At night, I would stand on our upstairs terraza and peek. Often there was a fire blazing beneath a huge iron kettle. Maybe there were human body parts, but probably not.
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Neighbors, known and unknown
Across the street out front are two houses a little to the left because our lots don’t align. One is occupied. The other is not. Both are nice houses.
The one farther to the left is occupied by a man about my age and his wife. His hair is silver, like mine, and he’s very friendly, unlike me. He’s the only one of my neighbors I’ve actually conversed with. Alas, his wife is a grump.
He owns a small clothing store in the center of town.
The other house is unoccupied because it has been under construction for three or more years, which is typical here. Home construction can be an ongoing process that one does as money becomes available.
That two-story home is quite elegant. We have not met the owners, but once they were standing on the roof, looking in our direction as I pulled the Honda into our property. They waved, and I did the same from our yard.
A pricey car was parked outside, so the neighbors will resent them.
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Cranks and beasts
Continuing to the Hacienda’s right side, we have the menagerie. Pigs, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, a horse, you can hardly name a farm beast that doesn’t live there or hasn’t lived there. There’s a John Deere tractor too.
A decade back, a nice older couple lived there with a younger couple, one of whom was the offspring of the older couple. Plus, there were little kids, grandchildren to the older couple.
One day, the old woman died. A couple of years later, the old man followed her into the mists, the passing of generations. The mother, who is about 35 now, is a sourpuss. Her husband is better, but not by much.
I’ll give him a tip of the hat, so to speak, on passing. I just ignore her on the street, and she ignores me. A few years ago we’d hear a toddler screaming bloody murder on a regular basis, but they hasn’t happened lately.
The kid’s probably buried under the pig pen.
And that concludes the looking around.
My favorite neighbors are the mountains.