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Jerry was, again, fed up with trying to deal with his neighbour Ed.

When Jerry and his wife Amy moved in thirty years back, Ed and Joan were the first ones to invite them over for coffee and a chat.  They quickly developed a close relationship and shared enjoyable times together.

Six years ago Amy died and four years ago Joan was gone.  The two men were dependent on each other for company, but in the past three years that had worn thin.  They still had their regular get togethers on the weekends over a beer—Saturday at Jerry’s place and Sunday at Ed’s.  However, each had their own way of doing things, especially in their gardens.  They did not appreciate each other’s critiques.

Now Jerry was annoyed.  Ed started replacing his pathway stones to the garden with new, decorated stones.  Jerry immediately realised he would have to do the same thing with his walkway stones.  He mused to himself, ‘Can’t let Ed’s backyard look better than mine.’

“So, you broke the bank and bought some fancy looking blocks there, Ed,” Jerry yelled over the fence.

“Oh, it’s not that big a deal now is it?  I just wanted a change.”

“Great.  Now I’m going to have to do the same thing.  I don’t see the purpose in it, given your age.”

“You’re as old as me, Jerry.  I wish you would just accept me doing something different without trying to get one-up on me.”

“Well I’m not changing anything in my yard, Ed.  I think my backyard looks beautiful, just like Amy designed it.”

“Oh yeah—the wonderful Amy.  Will you ever move on, Jerry?”

With that Jerry turned back to the house and stormed in, slamming the door behind him.  Ed was always bugging him to ‘move on’, but that hurt Jerry every time.  After these past six years, Jerry still couldn’t make changes.  Amy and I were dependent on each other for everything.  How can I think of replacing her with someone else?

Jerry poured a Scotch then sat at his kitchen table, mulling over his thoughts.  Why does Ed make comments like that?  We were all so close when Amy and Joan were alive.  Jerry sipped the last of his Scotch.  He walked over to the sink to wash his glass and looked out to see how Ed was doing with his work.  At first he couldn’t see Ed, but then noticed him lying on the ground, grasping his chest.

Jerry ran from the house, through his back gate and into to Ed’s backyard.  He ran up to Ed and dropped down to the ground.

“What’s happening, Ed?”

“I don’t know Jer.  I think I’m having a heart attack.”

“Hold on.  I’ll call EMS.”  With that Jerry ran into Ed’s house, phoned 911, then ran back to see Ed.  Ed’s eyes were wide and staring at the sky.  He was gasping for breath.

“They’re on their way, Ed.  Hang on buddy.”

Ed looked at Jerry, “We still are buddies, aren’t we Jer?”

“You bet.  Let’s stop our arguing about everything.”

“Ok, Jer.  It’s a deal.”

Ed then grabbed at his chest again and gasped for air.  His eyes opened wide, then he was still.

Jerry heard the sirens and a few minutes later the EMS people were kneeling over Ed, trying to revive him.

After several minutes, they stood up.  “I’m sorry sir,” one of them said to Jerry.  “There’s nothing more we can do.”

The funeral was in the church that Ed attended.  All his family, son, daughter, and their children were there, along with many people from the town.  When the service was finished, the family asked Jerry to come with them to the town’s graveyard in the country for the burial service.  At the cemetery Jerry stood, somewhat in a daze, looking at the gravestone.  It had Joan’s and Ed’s names inscribed.  He glanced at the stone on the next grave that had Amy’s name on it.

“Good grief, Ed.  Looks like we’re going to be neighbours for ever, buddy!”



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Ed Strickland
Ed Strickland
May 04

Good story Jack. Thanks.



May 04

I liked this one Jack. Sometimes we get the chance to mend the fences sometimes we don’t. Thank Jack, I always appreciate your writing.

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