Newcomers upset neighborhood plan

Daryn Kagan

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Daryn Kagan

It all appeared to be going so well.

This move to this remote coastal marsh I have shared with you.

The people we’ve met have been so kind.

The beauty and the wildlife are off the chain gorgeous.

Folks, including a Dear Reader or 12, think Husband and I are nuts to live here.

What can I say? This works for us.

Or it did.

Until she moved in.

The new neighbor.

This story is linked to our first loss, our Dear Neighbor I mentioned a few weeks back. Her husband died at the end of 2020 and she has now moved up to the next biggest city.

We miss her so.

How could anyone replace her? Who might replace her? We got scared thinking of how the wrong neighbor could ruin our vision for this little slice of our paradise.

Husband and I decided there is only one thing we could do.

We should buy her place.

We crunched the financial numbers. If we fix it up and offer it a majority of the year as an Airbnb, we just might be able to make this thing work.

Which is why we were walking around the property this weekend, checking things out.

That’s when we saw her.

Before we could even make an offer on the property, she moved in.

Call me judgmental.

But she looks mean.

The glare she gave made it clear we should not come close and try talking to her.

Not to call the new neighbors names, but this lady is an alligator.

No, really, she IS an alligator.

Of at least the seven-foot-long variety. There she was sunning herself on the bank across from the house.

Oh, my, Dear Reader, I hear you screaming, “See! I told you! You’re nuts. Run! Get someone to come take her out.”

I can’t say we didn’t have similar thoughts.

Mostly though, the new neighbor has me thinking about those we live next to.

Dear Reader, have you ever found yourself asking, “Whose neighborhood is this anyway?”

Interestingly, I was just asking this about the neighborhood of our big city house, the place I’ve lived for 23 years. Unbeknownst to most of us, some new neighbors decided ours should become an historic neighborhood. It’s a quaint thought until you hear the prohibitive provisions it would put in place. Basically, we wouldn’t be able to plant so much as a tulip in our front yard without getting the approval of three city committees.

“Who do these newcomers think they are?” I have fumed in recent weeks.

Which brings me back to the gator.

And that stare.

I imagine she’s thinking the same thing.

Forget my 23 years in my last neighborhood. Ms. Gator and her ancestors have been living in these marsh waters pretty much since time began.

Who do we think we are?

I think we’re all going to have to learn to get along.

I wonder what Ms. Gator thinks about tulips?

Daryn Kagan is the author of the book “Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.” Email her at