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Mending Fences, Tending Neighbors

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By Jerry Zezima

Father And Son Standing Behind Fence(MCT)—I have never believed the old saying that good fences make good neighbors because, really, who wants to live next door to a guy who deals in stolen merchandise?

Fortunately for me and my wife, Sue, the neighbors on both sides of us are friendly, law-abiding citizens.

Still, we needed a new fence recently because the two front sections of the old one were rotting, sagging and generally in deplorable condition, which our neighbors are too nice to say about me.

So we called Suffolk Fence Co. of Port Jefferson Station, N.Y. As its name implies, the company specializes in fencing (not with swords, thank God) and offers an array of styles, all of which come with doors that don’t, like the one on our old fence, have to be held up by ropes.

At 9 a.m. on a sunny Saturday, Herberth and David arrived to install our new fence.

“I’ve been here before,” says Herberth, who remembered coming over several years ago to replace a side-yard fence that was crushed when one of our trees fell on the house next door.

“The tree crashed through the roof of the garage,” I says. “Fortunately, we have good neighbors. Their insurance company covered the damage and they got a lot of free firewood.”

“My father-in-law says that when a hurricane is coming, you should go up on the roof and rip it up, then call the insurance company and say, ‘I need money.’ Of course, he’s only kidding,” says Herberth, who kidded me about my Three Stooges T-shirt. “I used to watch them in Spanish when I was growing up in El Salvador,” he recalled.

“I can just imagine Curly saying, ‘Buenos dias. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!’” I says.

Herberth pointed to the image of Moe on my shirt and says, “He’s the smart one, but he’s really pretty dumb.”

“Can you imagine if the Stooges installed fences?” I says.

“It would be crazy!” Herberth exclaimed.

Just then, David walked by, playfully flipping a hammer.

“If it hit him in the head, it would be funny,” Herberth says.

“If it hit me in the head,” I added, “he’d need a new hammer.”

“Just like the Stooges,” says Herberth, who asked if we have a dog.

“We used to,” I replied, “but she went to that big backyard in the sky.”

“I wanted to make sure that if you had one, she wouldn’t get away when we took the old fence down,” says Herberth, adding that his dog used to dig under the fence at home. “She’d go over to my neighbor’s house for a visit. My boss gave me a fence, which was very nice of him, but I had to put another one outside the den door so the dog would have her own area.”

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