Appleseed Way Neighborhood Watch


By Joan Raymond

Eloise held open the metal venetian blinds between her thumb and first finger. “Frank will you look at that – the O’Conner’s haven’t taken in their trash bins yet and it’s been well over thirty minutes since the garbage truck emptied them.” She snapped the blinds shut and placed her hands on her hips, “They know the rules. Agreed to them when they moved in. Better get on over there again and remind them.”

“Makes how many warnings now? Two? Three?” Frank shook his head, folded his newspaper in thirds and placed it on the kitchen table making a crease across the top. “They seemed like such a nice couple too. Suppose we should give them one more chance?”  He slipped on his black Florsheim shoes, bent over and tied the laces in double knots. “Anything else while I’m on my rounds this lovely spring morning?”

Eloise walked into the kitchen and drummed her fingernails on the cold ceramic tiles as she stared out the window. The Allen’s dog over at 6019 barked again last night past ten. Second time this week. They also need a final warning.”

Frank slipped on his official City of Roseville Neighborhood Watch vest and pulled it tight. He grabbed his clipboard, gave his wife of thirty years a kiss on the cheek and headed out the door. “Be back soon.”

He knocked on the O’Conner’s smooth Mahogany door and brushed dust from the raised molded panels with his finger as he waited. Mrs. O’Conner opened the door. “Why Frank, so nice to see you.  How is Eloise?”

Frank pointed towards the curb. “Fine… thanks.  I’m here to remind you about your trash bins…”

“Oh my goodness, I plum forgot. Me and Mr. O’Conner got interested in The Today Show. Don’t ya just love that Al Roker?” She hurried out towards the curb, “He just makes me chuckle every morning.” Mrs. O’Conner pushed the bins up the driveway and against the garage and wiped her hands on her bathrobe.

“This was your third warning in as many months.” Frank indicated to his clipboard, “You said you understood the rules when you moved in…”

“Why yes, yes I remember.” She fumbled with the buttons on her robe. “I just get distracted sometimes. I hope this doesn’t mean…  We won’t have to move..?”

“I’m sure you won’t have to move.” Frank made notes on his clipboard without making eye-contact. “Other neighbors to visit, give Mr. O’Conner my regards.” He clicked his pen, turned and walked down the sidewalk. They chose us to keep this neighborhood the best in the city, and by gum that’s what it’s been. He looked both ways and crossed the street and then headed over to the Allen’s. He noticed Mr. Allen coming out the front door and stepped quickly to catch up with him.

“Mr. Allen, a word please…”  Frank clicked his ball-point pen. “It has come to our attention that your dog broke the curfew rules again last night.” He motioned at the clipboard, “Apparently you don’t remember we don’t tolerate any noise between 10:00 PM and 8:00 AM?”

Mr. Allen fumbled with his briefcase, “I had to pick my wife up at work, and Lady just wouldn’t, well you know, do her business.  So I left her outside. I was back at 10:15. It won’t happen again, I’m sure of it.”

“I’m sure of it also.” Frank turned and started towards back his home, but stopped and pulled a tape measure from his pocket. He held it against the sidewalk by the lawn, “Grass needs clipping; getting a bit too tall.” He flicked the sliver metal case back into his pocket and walked away. If one gets away with it, they’ll think I’m going soft. Then the whole neighborhood will go to hell in a hand basket and we won’t win the Best Neighborhood of Roseville trophy again. Nine years straight – this year will make ten.

Frank opened his front door and inhaled, “Must be those famous chocolate cookies you’ve got baking?  I could smell them coming up the walk.” He took off his vest and hung it on the coat rack, sat and untied his shoelaces and placed each shoe back under the coffee table. “Not sure about those neighbors. They say they understand, but I don’t think they get it. If they don’t comply…”

Eloise brushed a stray grey hair back behind her ear and adjusted her glasses, “Cookies are about done.  Once they cool you can take some to the O’Conner’s. Made a few in the shape of a bone for the Allen’s dog too.” She clicked on the oven light and peered at the rising cookies. “Yep, just about done.”

Frank walked over to the brick fireplace. He ran his finger across the engravings on each of his nine golden trophies, tracing the letters that spelled Appleseed Way. “Being Neighborhood Watch captain is quite a responsibility, don’t you agree?”

“Of course, Frank. No one knows how much trouble we’ve gone through to make this the safest place to live in the whole town, probably the whole county.” She pulled a cookie sheet from the oven and placed it on a pink crocheted pot holder on the counter.  “The waiting list for houses here is years at best.” Eloise got a paper plate and placed half-dozen cookies on it and wrapped it tightly in red Saran Wrap. Then she took another paper plate and placed the bone-shaped cookies on it and wrapped it the same manner. She chose a red pen from the drawer and wrote names on a tag attached to each plate making sure each letter was perfectly formed. “Here Sweetie, the cookies go to the O’Conner’s and the dog bone cookies are for the Allen’s dog.”

Frank put back on his shoes, making sure to tie the laces in double knots and took the two plates. Eloise walked ahead of him and opened the door, “See you in a few minutes dear.” Frank kissed her on the cheek and left to make his deliveries.

Eloise was cleaning the kitchen floor as Frank returned.  “The O’Conner’s send their regards, something about getting together next week for dessert… oh and Mr. Allen was overcome with your kind gesture of homemade treats for the dog.”


The next morning Frank read the paper in the kitchen as Eloise watched the neighborhood through the blinds.  He placed two sugar cubes in his coffee and stirred it for a few seconds, “What’s going on now dear?”

“Well, the police showed up about fifteen minutes ago. Now the ambulance attendants are taking the bodies from the O’Conner’s home.  Shame to lose those two,” she shook her head. She peered towards the right, “Mr. Allen got a shovel from the garage, appears he’s digging a hole in the backyard to bury something.”

“Guess that means we’ll be getting new neighbors right soon again?  That’ll make someone on the waiting list happy.” He took a sip from his coffee, “I suppose things will run smooth again for a spell.”

Eloise snapped the blinds shut and turned around. “By the way, did you hear Mr. Fitzer using his electric saw in his garage early this morning? Woke me up at 7:55 AM he did. I think that makes three times since he moved in last year.”

Frank turned the page of his newspaper. “I’ll let things calm down a bit outside and then go give Fitzer a final warning.  You have any of those cookies left?  Looks like we might have two homes available soon…”

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