Palaver from Persimmon Crossing
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Archive, Progress Report, The Progress Report|
Palaver from Persimmon Crossing
with Warren Faulk
BOUNDARIES and PROPERTY RIGHTS: Cool it!
What is it about a line on the ground that causes people to lose all sense of perspective? Some of the saddest things I have been a party to, witnessed or heard about had to do with property rights. When I was a small boy, two farm families had a dispute over the placement of a fence. One of the families had two highschool age sons who played football and were very well liked.
These boys and the farmer next door got into a shouting match. One of the boys climbed up on the fence and was shot dead. The other boy started over the fence and was shot and wounded. The family of the boys was in their house and tried to shoot back but couldn’t find matching shells for their gun.
The shooter was sentenced to 20 years. The amount of property involved was of no consequence, particularly in view of hindsight. This incident happened 50 years ago but it is fresh in the minds of the locals and the feud may not be over yet.
A few years later I had close connections with two elderly gentlemen who were cousins. They had farmed next door to each other all their lives. They had not spoken to each other for several years before I met them and died without reconciling.
Their dispute centered around a fence that an older relative had erected and at issue was 6 inches by 500 feet of land. Fallow land. Land not used in the last 20 or more years of the life of either man.
If one man was mentioned in the presence of the other a few nasty remarks would automatically result. These two men literally hated each other. They could just as easily have been great friends and cooperating farmers. The families remained friendly but both sides had to tip toe around these two for decades.
And now I’ll tell one on myself. One that I plan to draw on for the rest of my life. I had just moved to a new area and had a few chickens and other critters. Neighbors here are prone to let their dogs run loose. One of them killed a few of my chickens. I caught the dog and called the number on the collar. A very nice lady showed up to collect her pet, apologies all around and offers to pay were made.
I declined payment but told her that if she didn’t confine the dog it would likely happen again and that I would expect payment at that time. It did happen again and this time several expensive birds and their cages were destroyed. I delivered a bill for the replacement value of the birds and cages.
She began to argue about the price and I politely told her that if we were going to argue, we would do it in court, where she would certainly lose a lot more that the amount of the bill I had presented. She paid without further protest………..
A few days later her husband killed himself. I had never met him. They had huge financial problems that I did not know about. A year later their 16 year old son killed himself. I no longer care about being right until I’m sure I’ve been a good neighbor…………….. I wish I’d never seen those chickens.
Warren Faulk lives in Smarr, Georgia. He is also the author of our recent article The Energy Crunch and What to Do About It.
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