The poet Robert Frost once wrote that "Good fences make good neighbors." When I was growing up, you respected other people's property. You would never think of jumping a fence or trudging across someone's yard or field without asking permission first. It was the polite and neighborly thing to do.
I remember having to timidly walk up to old man Simmons' front door, to ask if it would be okay if we cut through his backyard on our way to school, because it meant we wouldn't have to go all the way to the corner, up a hill and back again to get there on time.
So, over the past 30 years -- what happened to change all that? Every weekend, we deal with drunk, whooping rednecks who come trespassing across our fields, rutting them up on their four wheelers, completely oblivious to the damage they are doing because, "they're just having fun."
Funny, but I bet if I drove over to their house and rutted up their front lawns with an ATV and littered a few beer cans and cigarette butts around, they'd be pretty furious. But when I get upset, I'm just being "unfriendly."
I actually had one of these yahoos tell me, "We didn't know anyone owned this property." Really? Is there ANY property in the state of Arkansas that isn't owned by someone? And wouldn't the house, electric lines and, oh yes, the GATE, make you think that maybe, perhaps, someone lives here? Not to mention the No Trespassing and Keep Out signs.
But apparently, rowdy rednecks are also illiterate. Who knew?
We moved to the country to relax, kick back and enjoy the comforts and delights of living away from the loud noises of the city -- not to spend our weekends calling the Sheriff's Department every few hours to remove the drunken locals from our property.
Parents, talk to your kids -- even the grown up ones -- and please remind them to have respect for other people's property. It's the neighborly thing to do. And it's the right thing to do.