We’re getting new neighbors. After weeks of pounding and buzz-sawing next door, I met the new owners, a young couple from Queens who will move in once major renovations are completed to their house from the early 1920s.

The previous owner died more than a year ago, and, outside of brief visits by her daughter and son-in-law, the house has been empty since. I know little about the new people. I’m hoping a car with huge tires parked in their driveway a few days ago is theirs. I’ve always wanted to see how a normal human being can climb into a car that high off the ground without using a ladder.

Being a born trouble-maker, the next time I talk to them I’ll try to find out whether Peter and Jessie (not their real names) can take a joke. Here are a few of the things I’ll tell them:

  --You should be aware that in the summer we set up a zip line in our backyard that runs over your garage to the house on the far corner. Our grandkids use it a lot but not to worry. They always do it very late at night, and you’ll probably be asleep by then.

 --Let me warn you that I’m 80 years old and if you see our garbage cans out some morning that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a pickup that day. You’re better off checking with another, younger neighbor.

 --When we have company in warm weather, we like to have dinner on the front porch. I sure hope you like “End of the Line” by the Traveling Wilburys. Once that sucker starts playing it keeps repeating until well after dessert. And before you ask, we have restaurant rules: There are no substitutions. It’s “End of the Line” and it’s loud.

 --Since you folks are so young, we don’t think you should mind making sure our sidewalk and driveway are cleared after a snow storm. You don’t have to do the driveway all the way to the garage, the first 40 feet will be fine. Thanks in advance.

--There’s a small tricycle in our garage no longer used by any of our granddaughters, and I have a standing offer of 50 bucks to any neighbor who can ride it—non-stop without their feet ever touching the ground—the length of our driveway and back. As long as I get five minutes notice to open the garage, you’re welcome to try any time, before or after the beverage or beverages of your choice.

 --We’re not ones to answer a lot of questions about our personal lives. The truth is we’re not really allowed to. All I’ll say is that technically we have lived here a long time, nearly 40 years, not counting quite a spell both my wife and I spent in the Witness Protection Program.

--If the previous owner didn’t mention it, that tree that looks like it’s in our front yard is really in yours. It’s rotting, and every time there is a stiff breeze a branch or two comes down. You’ll see. You really should have the whole thing cut down, like tomorrow.

Welcome to the neighborhood.


  (This first appeared in the June 2018 issue of The Great South Bay Magazine.)