Uncovering the Neighbors

Calling the police, when you live in the Humboldt hills is an exercise in patience. The sheer magnitude of curvy roads dictates at least an hour response time. Thus folks tend to rely on themselves and their neighbors. As a child of country people, I grew up knowing that. Then I moved even further out—I married into the Back-to-the-land hill people and I met my new neighbors.

Not too long after moving into my husband’s cabin, we drove back from town. Hot sun rested on the King’s Range to the west and paused before dropping below the horizon.

Because we were at the end of the road, the driveways dwindled to two or three every mile. We came around a corner to find a somewhat older couple on a handsome Harley admiring the sunset. Even though the helmet law had just been passed, they were bareheaded but I prided myself on being unconcerned with convention and didn’t let this prejudice me. My husband pulled up and I rolled down the window. He introduced them as the next door neighbors.

Tawny haired, the other man grinned comfortably through his beard as he said hello with a sexy drawl.

“Why, it’s real nice to meet you,” his wife added tipping her elfin face around her husband.

The comfortableness, the naturalness of the two let me know I was going to like them. I could tell they were good people. The woman grimaced appealingly as she looked at me.

“You know, not having a place for a handkerchief is the only thing I don’t like about riding bareback.” Then she waved goodbye as they drove off.

I gaped after them then turned to stare at my husband. He grinned. “Really they’re nice and they’re normal.”

“But…but…they’re naked.”

——

Yes, at last I noticed that the two were tooling around on their Harley sans clothing.

For awhile I was a mite concerned about needing those neighbors’ help.

But, up in these hills it’s not what you wear or don’t wear that really matters, its how you act. I’ve been on road crews, clean up committees, and quilting parties with one or the other of them in the last twenty years and they get work done and they do it right.

Soo, consequently, they’re first on my list to call if I need a hand. And if they haven’t got a pocket for a handkerchief, I generally have a few paper napkins in the glove box I can lend them.

  • Laytonville Rock
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