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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not a Good Sign…

Waning AugustIn my other life when I struggled with the task of transforming high school sophomores into literate, critically thinking, socially productive young adults, I drilled into them the concept that language was a great impression maker. “Whenever you use language publicly,” I would preach, “you are making an impression; people judge you by how you speak, what you say, how you say and write it.” I believed it then and eleven years after bidding farewell to sophomores and the teaching profession, I believe it yet.These tenets of communication, as readers of this blog know, have carried over to the practically perfect standards of journalism practiced here by The Ripple. While one would hardly consider The Ripple’s contents high style, it has dedicated itself to certain standards of journalistic hygiene. In a Valley with so much manure about, this is not always easy to do.

Yes, the printed word, how its used, is quite telling. The other day in Fred Meyers I noticed an adult male in his forties wandering around the store wearing a T-shirt with a message that read: “I’m not a gynecologist, but I’ll take a look.”Here’s my impression of that gentleman: if he’d been one of my sophomores, he would have been wearing that shirt inside out during the school day. Didn’t he have a mother in his life? A day or so later I read a vanity license plate with this message: “Uppity.” Just the person who would breeze through a four-way stop or cut you off on the freeway.

Yesterday I noticed  two new signs in the Valley. The first, while not exactly a sign, was at the old Victorian home that used to be the residence of the Aldens. The place has been vacant for months, but lately I’ve noticed the lawn has been mowed. Yesterday I spied a child’s bicycle and other toys indicating the presence of children—always a very good sign.

The second sign was actually two, a message in duplicate on the corners of the fence next to the driveway of the home formerly owned by our friends Garth and Tony MaGee. Magees’ successors had been foreclosed upon, and the house, like Aldens’ place, also had been vacant for months. I happened by just when a realtor was removing the realty sign. He told me the place had been sold, but he had no idea when the sale would be finalized and the home occupied again. That was weeks ago. But moving day must be imminent for the new neighbors because glaring at me from the corners of the fence were these two signs: SignsNow if you were driving the Valley welcome wagon, which of the new neighbors would you most want to welcome to your Valley neighborhood? 

(FYI: On the radio a few years back, I was listening to a legal program when the subject of hostile, dangerous dogs came up. The lawyer hosting the show gave this advice: “If you own an animal that has the potential to harm a fellow human being, should litigation involving that animal come to trial, there’s no better way to incriminate yourself than to post a sign announcing to the world you own a dangerous animal.” 

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  1. Oh, great. You know, I was so glad when the Level II sex offender moved off of our block several months ago, but noticed the first change to his rented house was a new "Beware of Dog" sign. The new tenant has three (yes 3!) large Pitbulls. Granted, the dogs are never left outside (knock on wood), but I've been left to wonder, which scenario is worse? Good luck with that. Is bear spray in order? Christmas is coming.

  2. I'm hoping the new signage is a "false positive." I told the realtor who was removing his sign about the Swiss Hall vandalism and the break-in at the house across the road. Perhaps the new owners have posted the signs as a precaution. It's my one, slim hope. That fence is not high; a large canine (s)could vault it with ease.

  3. But maybe not so slim after all. On today's outing I was surprised to find both signs have disappeared. There was a big truck in the driveway obviously unloading stuff. Curious.... Curious, indeed.

  4. TJ, The new Alden residents happen to be great friends of the Young Deans. They have acheived a dream of living in the Tualco Valley after moving here 4 years ago from Minnesota.

  5. JD, to the friends of the Young Deans: a hearty welcome to the Valley! The Valley needs more kids and fewer hounds whose presence the neighbors should "Beware Of..." Glad to have you Rippling along....TMJ