Dear Smiths, I’m sorry



A co-worker went home last week a little earlier than normal.
She wasn’t feeling well and left.  
No big deal.
But, it was a big deal because within one or two hours her family texted letting us know that she was on her way to the ER. An hour or two after that we found out she was home, but had a severe case of bronchitis.  
She was a little sicker than anyone thought.
And that reminded me of the time I had bronchitis.
If you’ve never had it, rest-assured, it’s no fun. Breathing is difficult and you just feel bad all the way around.
Your lungs work a little harder, and your breath is labored.
And while the specifics of it all have escaped me, what I won’t forget is that my neighbors were burning a large stump.
Yes, a stump.  
A large one. And they were burning it right across from my house.  
We live in a rural little town and you can burn a log, no crime there. We’ve burned plenty of stumps, logs, sticks and branches at our place, so I certainly didn’t hold it against them.
But, remember the bronchitis? Yeah, that was a bit of a problem.
And it had rained. A lot.
That means the log was moist.  Very moist. Saturated.
Therefore, the stump didn’t burn.  It smoldered.  For days.
A slow, slow burn.
And the smoke drifted across the street, straight into every open crevice of my home.  It floated in the heating system and made its musty way into every available space.  My living room. My bedroom.  Everywhere.
And I had bronchitis.
So I laid there sick.  Breathing in the smoky air, one labored breath after another.  Not feeling a bit better as I did.
Now, I probably could have been mature. Maybe picked up the phone and dialed my sweet neighbors.    I can’t say that I could have texted them, it was probably right before the texting craze started. So, I have that in my defense.
Still, I could have sent a Facebook message.
But I didn’t.
Had I contacted them, I’m sure in my weakened state they would have been eager to help me in my plight.  Besides, better neighbors aren’t to be found.  Without a doubt the log would have been out and we would have received meals had I just let them know!
But instead, I lay in anguish, moaning and complaining to any listening ear.  
And that ear was my youngest son.  Well, he’s a little like me.
Passive aggressive behavior, I suppose, is a taught trait. I will attribute this instance to my shyness, and his too.  
I can’t say I didn’t suggest it, I really can’t recall.
But even if I did, I didn’t actually want him to do it.
At any rate, before long he came to me and informed me he had put that log completely out.  
He walked right over to the Smith’s house, took their water hose and doused that stump.  
Again, it’s been a while back, but I am pretty sure that Mr. Smith saw him.
We never addressed it. The Smiths never asked why Colton was on their property putting out their smoldering stump.
So, I suppose this is just an open letter of apology to my dear neighbors. Robert and Betsy, I’m sorry my son trespassed onto your property and put out your burning log.
I can’t say I regret what he did, because I remember being so relieved once the deed was done.  
But maybe next time I’ll handle it a little more maturely.  Be bold, make a call, send a text. Face the issue!  
And then if the neighbors don’t put out their stump, I’ll send someone to do it for them!



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