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She once propounded her philosophy that the only kind of ethnic restaurants she likes are those in which there are no ethnics. People who have low incomes make her terribly uneasy. Obviously, she prefers neighborhoods in which neighbors are not visible.

I reminded The Lawyer that I had only signed the right-of-way memorandum to make it possible for him to get a loan for his house. And I recalled his fervent assurances that he would never try to close the drive.

"I never said that," The Lawyer said, not looking me in the eye. "Besides, if I did, I now regard the circumstances as being changed."
The gate never went up. Obviously, though, relations in our neighborhood had cooled.

Then, the other day, we had a new incident.
The potted palm, set in a 100-pound pot, was placed directly in the center of the drive to block it off.

On the following day, two big pieces of concrete rubble were placed behind the potted palm, as if they were a second line of defense.

The Lawyer seemed to be building his very own Maginot Line to seal himself from harm.

I called The Lawyer at his law firm. I was told he was out of town. He had left instructions that his whereabouts not be divulged.

I was glad to see The Lawyer was consistent about his security. But he returned my call.

"Please explain what's going on with this potted plant," I asked.
"It's a matter of safety," The Lawyer said. "It's a matter of protecting my family."
And that's where the matter rests with the neighbors from hell. The potted palm sits like a sentry, blocking the driveway.

Time for me to get to work painting my sign, I guess.

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Tom Fitzpatrick