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Friday, January 22, 2010

What’s Up With My Neighborhood, or Come Listen to a Story ‘Bout a Man Named Jed

Stampeding once again toward the promise of the weekend’s alarm-clock-less freedoms, we consult the Mighty iPod.

O bringer of personal tunes, inducer of dance steps both awe-inspiring and mock-worthy, divine the weekend’s potential through my morning commute’s playlist!

Or, to steal from the great Rocky and Bullwinkle: Eenie meenie jelly beanie! The spirits are about to speak!
The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath
Hollywood Swinging by Kool and the Gang
Punkrocker by the Teddybears featuring Iggy Pop
Not a Crime by Gogol Bordello
Ball of Confusion by Love and Rockets
Go Down Gambling by Blood Sweat and Tears
Valerie by Mark Ronson, featuring Amy Winehouse

You see what I do, don’t you? Checks in the mail, payable to “Pearl, Why You Little…”?

What? You don’t see that?

That’s weird. I see that quite clearly…

No matter.

Welcome, one and all, to What’s Up with My Neighborhood?, a new Friday feature.

Let me begin by saying that I love my neighborhood. Northeast Minneapolis is the arts district of Minneapolis, a neighborhood full of restaurants, bars, art studios, live music, sidewalks and trees and people walking their dogs.

And sometimes, sometimes there are some real freaks as well. Remind me to tell you about Stephanie, the Tattooed Lady. She would like to sit next to you at the bar, bemoaning the fact that the tattoos on her face have made finding a job really hard.

Lousy establishment! The Man is keeping her down!

She’ll go away if you buy her a drink.

Consider it money well spent.

But that’s not what we’re on about today. Oh, no. Today, my friends, I would like to introduce you to the Jefferson Hillbillies.

The Jefferson Hillbillies moved in to the bottom half of a duplex three houses down roughly four years ago. They lived there for five months.

But I’m ahead of myself.

Sit back! Today’s story is “The Jefferson Hillbillies Move In”.

There is a lovely park directly across the street from us. There are mature trees for shade, open spaces for Frisbee-hurtling, dog-walking, and the occasional couple lying on a blanket, kissing. Our neighbors are a mix of couples with children, retired folk with meticulous lawns, and the work-a-day types like myself hustling toward and away from bus stops at regular intervals.

We are Middle America.

Our new neighbors moved in on an early summer day. After enduring the face-peeling attempts of Mother Nature’s seasonal efforts to make us move south, the neighborhood was fairly giddy with good humor and there were sightings of both bare arms and bare legs.

Heady stuff.

And when five battered pickup trucks pulled up in front of the duplex that had recently had a “For Rent” sign removed, we were naturally curious.

And “curious” is the word we’re looking for here, because despite the number of trucks involved, our new neighbors’ possessions seemed to be restricted to several large screen TVs, several frighteningly worn mattresses, and children.

But hey. Live and let live, right? Plenty of room for everybody!

Moving said items didn’t take much time, of course; and before you could say “what the?” our new neighbors had set up a ping-pong table on the sidewalk in front of their house.

And a recliner.

And three coolers that we came to know were filled with beer because of the empties that eventually littered the boulevard.

The new people played ping-pong until it was dark.

Whereupon they played in the dark.

It was all delightfully audible.

The ping-pong table stayed on the sidewalk for several weeks, until the police were called and they were required to remove it and the beer cans from the public walkway.

They moved it all up into the front yard.

Where it sat next to the recliner.

Oddly enough, this did not bode well – and it’s surprising how often a good boding turns out to be for a good reason.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.


the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Who wastes a perfectly good recliner out in the yard like that?


Sounds like around here, but then, I'm probably the bad neighbor because I don't "mow my lawn often enough" and I "take down my Christmas lights before the Fourth of July"

Anonymous said...

Blood Sweat and Tears, has so many good ones, like that one and "Sometimes is Winter" and "If it Makes You Happy"


Tamsin said...

After that I think they moved to Utah where their smallest children could often be seen roaming the driveway at midnight, dressed only in diapers, while the adult males gathered around several broken-down vehicles, kicked tires and crushed beer cans on their foreheads. The women were rarely seen, but frequently heard.

Tail-Kinker said...

My in-laws live over Nordeast...is the recliner still there? ;P

I need a new chair to curl up in when I read. And hey, if it comes with ping pong, so much the better!

Jayne Martin said...

Another riveting tale... Can't wait for the next episode.

June said...

The latest yard ornament: Ping Pong Table
I bet this really made the neighborhood look way classy!!

Pat said...

Sounds like a sitcom...one that gets canceled mid-season.

Anonymous said...

Love and Rockets Pearl!
That's a good blast from the past! I wonder if the lady has slight goth undertones apart from her rocky past eh?

The mad woman behind the blog said...

I've finally listened to one of your playlists and now I see how you can be so perky. No way to sleep your way to work with all that playing! (And I like it! Thanks for expanding my horizons.)

True story, when my oldest brother decided he needed his own room, he moved into our basement (ew)and made his bed on a....ping pong table. I'll never look at them the same way.

Anonymous said...

Pearl! I'm hanging on your next word. And it's not there!!!!!!!! How long do I have to wait? I'm waiting to see if they are the kin that we sent away, shotguns at the ready. Go west, we said, and keep a going. bang bang

lisleman said...

hey it could have been a motorized recliner. I suspect you heard about that guy.
did they let you play ping pong with them? They are not ping ponging in the snow are they? I agree with most that they should put the stuff away when they are done.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, I think we share neighbors.

Molly Potter said...

Here are my checks in the mail:

Are you keeping your fluids up?
Is your face free from all food crumbs, smears and unsightly lumps?
Might you need a little sit down?
Do you have some wits about you?
Have you remembered which side of the law you are meant to stay on?

Just a small charge. Cheques made payable to Molly Potter 34p

justsomethoughts... said...

sounds delightful

theyre the people that you meet each daaaaaaayyyyyyy

powdergirl said...

Pearly Whirly Girl,

Your post titles are just killing me lately, you show up in my reader and I'm already laughing when I get here.

Then I'm still laughing when I leave.

Sweet! Thanks!


Debbie said...

ha ha...your neighbors sound delightful..can't wait to hear the rest!

The Retired One said...

Lord help you!
We have a neighbor who's front yard is quickly not visible anymore....she has a shit load of adult children who come visiting her from all parts of the country in large vans...large vans full of shit which they unload at "mom's" for "storage". Only she has no storage. So it sits out in her yard...Several children's drivetoys, a large boat which has had a for sale sign on it for 4 years now, now a driver camper with one tire completely flat, several picnic tables, various collapsable tables once set up for a rummage sale, etc. She has a carport full of the boxes left over from said rummage sale (2 years ago, mind you) that still hasn't been cleared out.
She has been issued fines for breaking neighborhood ordinances...not to worry, she just "rearranges" the crap into different looking piles until the next fine arrives. Sigh.
The rest of the neighborhood really looks nice.
And, we live on the first corner as you enter town. Our house on one side and HERS directly across from us.

Brian Miller said...

a recliner in the yard is lawn funiture right...its more comfortable than those plastic things...and we have a blue drop cloth from where i change the oil to cover it in the storms...really, just kidding.

Marla said...

Ok, I am hooked. I simply must know more of this story ... such as when did my relatives move to MN??

Laoch of Chicago said...

So how are your ping pong skills in the aftermath?

Tempo said...

It's nice to know that neighbours like that are everywhere...I was beginning to think 'The Ferrels' at the end of our street were the only ones in existence.
Looking forward to future instalments...

Jocelyn said...

Listen. Stop it.

Tell me more.


WrathofDawn said...

I didn't know my next-door neighbours used to live in Minneapolis.

dave hambidge said...

If you would like some advice about proper music, let me know...

SweetPeaSurry said...

HEY ... Isn't there a Springsteen song that reflects this type of behavior? he he he ... People are so colorful!

CatLadyLarew said...

Oh, this is not going to turn out well at all, is it?

Douglas said...

They sounded delightful. Were you sad when they moved?