we’ve lived in our house 9 years now.  on the left side of us, lives patsy, junis and john.  patsy is mama’s age, and a widower, for about 4 years now.  her husband wayne was a really nice guy, typical southern man.  a couple of years before our arrival, wayne had a stroke, causing him to speak like boomhauer from king of the hill.  sometimes patsy would have to translate for me; I always felt bad when I couldn’t understand him.

now patsy’s boyfriend junis lives with her, along with her son john, who is about 27.  john is a firefighter, emt and also works at the 911 call center, so he’s rarely home.

on the other side of us lives doris and her boyfriend lloyd.  doris is patsy’s mama. she and lloyd are both older than dirt.  lloyd has been living with doris for 20 years or better, and patsy cannot stand him.  apparently, they’ve never gotten along; the police have visited both houses more times than I can count, just in the last 9 years.  tammie-from whom we purchased our lovely abode and became good friends-has also plied us with abundant stories.

at some point, long ago, his pilot light blew out and hasn’t come back on.  at first, I thought she was exaggerating, but over time, I learned different.

people ‘break into’ their house and:

  • hide the television remote/keys, etc.
  • steal the spare cases of soda hidden under his bed
  • steal bags of sugar from the stockpile in the basement
  • steal food out of the cupboard
  • steal one sock from every pair, forcing him to wear only one kind of sock, so when he replaces them, he doesn’t have a whole bunch of extras
  • unplug the washing machine/microwave/dishwasher

people have also broken into his car, only to change the radio station and lock the doors behind themselves.

because these same people would take lloyd’s pajamas off the clothesline, he finally quit hanging them out.  when he was still hanging clothes out, he would roll up the clothesline and take it into the house when he was done using it.

unfortunately, as time has gone on, lloyd has only lost more of his mind, and now doris has been diagnosed with alzheimer’s.  lloyd has always kept the house locked up tight, going as far as locking the screen door behind him when he would go out to the mailbox.  he has nailed the front and back doors shut, and the carport door is locked with a deadbolt that takes a key to open.

3 times a day, patsy and junis deliver their meals and medicine to them.  they have to stand outside for several minutes while lloyd locates the key -providing it wasn’t stolen in the meantime- to let them in.

lloyd has always suspected patsy of being his thief, so he won’t give her a key.  she did happen to find an extra key one day, and hung it on a nail inside the utility room, just in case something happens and lloyd doesn’t/can’t come to the door.

over the years, we have laughed at his nutty behavior, and have tossed about the idea of toying with him, but our consciences won’t let us.

however, rich and I do get tickled. every night…EVERY. NIGHT.  lloyd opens and shuts his door several times.

last night, in the space of about 30 minutes, lloyd opened and shut his door 43 times.  most of the time, it was open for less than 5 seconds, but sometimes as long as 30 seconds. a few times, he reached out and rattled the screen door, to make sure it was good and locked.  then, a minute later, he would check it again.

I feel bad for patsy, having to watch her mama decline so much, and not be able to do much.  at this point, her options are to keep up this routine, or put her mama in a home.  pretty depressing choices.

for now, though, I enjoy watching the checking of the locks every night.