I would be remiss if when speaking of my old neighbourhood memories, I did not mention the family that lived directly next door to our house. They were Bud and Elna and their most beloved dog, Jigger! They were a couple of very loving and tender people who had never had children and had poured a lot of their love into their pet dog, and as a special treat they shared their love with me and my sister, Joyce.
It took me a bit of time for me to understand their love, because Bud was always trying to cut off my ears when I ran through his terraced lawn down to the next yard, which housed my friend, Kimmy! When Bud was home, he would sit on his back step, and if I came near, he would playfully chase me and threaten to cut off my ear if he ever caught me! (It took me a long time to understand that for him, this was just a game, but for me it meant - stay away from Bud when he was around!!)
As time went by, and I noticed that after work, Dad and Bud would sit outside on Bud's back steps and share a drink and unwind. I would venture a bit closer, knowing that I had Dad for protection if Bud approached me with his scary pocket knife. I used to sit next to Dad, and would listen to their stories, and then often would wonder off and lay under the willow tree in Bud's backyard, not far from where they were sitting and trading stories. I felt safe then.
As the years went by, I began to realise that Bud came across as this scary person for his own protection. My house was at the top of the block, and all of the kids lived down the block past Bud and Elna's house. Because Bud and Elna didn't have children, they didn't want the whole neighbourhood running back and forth through their yard as we played our games during the day. So Bud was always threatening to cut off their ears - I felt privileged in the end that I knew he wouldn't touch my ears - was never too sure about the others though--I convinced them to use the alleyway instead!
When I got older and we had moved away from that neighbourhood and I was working at Giant Foods, Bud would occasionally come into the store to shop. Whenever he saw me, he still jiggled his pants pocket and would occasionally pull out his pocket knife. I could laugh about it then - I was practically grown up - but still would not attempt to cut through his yard if I ever went back!
He was a big character in my life.