My suspicions began shortly before Independence Day. At first, I was somewhat less than credulous about the prospect. After all, I thought to myself, who on earth would steal something so... worthless?
And yet, little by little, the pile of dried-out brush on the walkway next to my garage continued to shrink. Initially, I had attributed its diminution to the simple processes of nature. When I cut that brush at the beginning of June and piled it in its place behind the trash can, it had been resplendent with verdant foliage. As the weeks progressed, however, the leaves dried up and began to blow away, leaving the pile (I thought) a little less impressive than it initially had been.
My original plan of disposal was dependent on thrift, as so many of my plans are. I would borrow a friend's truck and take the mound of branches to a place of disposal, if I could
a.) find a free Saturday morning
b.) arrange for my friend not to need his truck that same morning
c.) overcome the revulsion in the bottom of my soul that arises every time I am required to pay any money at all for any goods or services that seem less than absolutely necessary (such as a fee to allow a forestry center to recycle my yard waste into mulch that they then sell by the truckload to interested parties)
So there I was, slightly less than a month later, and my three conditions still had not been met. Nonetheless, as I mowed the lawn that day, I noticed that the pile seemed to be getting smaller. And the more I thought about it, the less able I was to attribute this to the normal shrinkage of drying leaves. It was seriously smaller; I was able to get my lawn mower through to the back yard without my normal tortuous strivings.
Something was very wrong here.
Yet, as the weeks progressed and the pile continued to vanish, I was unable to find the culprit. Until yesterday, that is.
My wife and I were coming home from a friend's house, and as we pulled into the driveway, we saw a jeans-clad figure hunched over in the yard by our brush pile. I knew it was time to act, so I flung open the car door and raced over to the scene of the crime.
"Hi, Pat!" I said. "Nice day, isn't it?"
She looked up sheepishly. "Yes," she replied, a twinkle in her blue eyes. She brushed a loose strand of white hair from her face. "So nice, I thought to myself, 'Pat, you've just got to get out of the house and do something in the yard today.'"
"Well," I responded, feeling grateful and ashamed all at once, "I appreciate you stealing my brush pile."
"Aw, it was nothing," she said. "I have extra room in my yard-waste cans every week, so I thought I'd just help you get rid of this pile. Besides, what are neighbors for?"
I love this town.