Good fences make good neighbors Robert Frost in Mending Wall
By C.W. GUSEWELLE
The Kansas City Star
What standing does a provincial journalist have to quarrel with the most beloved of American poets?
No standing, I freely confess. And yet as a scribbler who writes from his own experience and is paid by the word, I have to take issue with that business about good fences.
Observation is the most dependable teacher. And what I have learned during this recent spell of nasty weather is that, in fact, its bad fences that make good neighbors.
We havent any issues with the neighbors on either side.
To the west theres no fence at all. That neighbor, Paul, has a springer spaniel named Sailor, and a friendlier creature you couldnt hope to know.
Anytime were in our front yard and hes at large in his, Sailor pops over for a visit.
He has a fine, moist nose.
On our east side live Tyler and Ann and their two wonderful youngsters.
Their backyard and ours are both enclosed. Between us theres a 6- or 7-foot wooden fence.
Our side is the province of the aged beagle, Buddy, who was adopted from a shelter at age 9 or so. Mostly hes an indoor dog, going out only for the necessary errands or for an occasional walk on a leash.
For company he has cats good cats and friendly. But Ive often thought he must miss companionship of his own kind.
In the neighboring yard lives Bode, a handsome golden retriever, also a rescue, named after Bode Miller, the U.S. Olympic skier.
Its likely they both knew there was a relative, however distant, on the other side. But it wasnt until a section of the fence went down felled by an Arctic blast, or possibly just by age that they actually met.
And, for us, it was a joy to witness the excitement of their first time ever together.
The snow that day was at its deepest shoulder high to Bode, nearly over little Buddys back. And they romped in it with a joy that took me back in memory to the snow days of boyhood.
I dont know when, if ever, that fence will go back up. Theres no immediate plan.
So never mind what the poet wrote. Its quite clear: Bad fences can make good neighbors.
For more of C.W. Gusewelle, go to gusewelle.kansascity.com.