Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)
TITLE: Breaking Rules
By Betty Castleberry
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At the last board meeting of the Pleasant Ridge Homeowner’s Association, it was unanimously voted that a letter of concern be sent to you.
As you know, when you bought your historic property on Pleasant Ridge Avenue, you were required to join our association. It is the association members’ belief that you have violated a number of regulations which I will present to you in this correspondence. A copy of the regulations is given to everyone upon moving into the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood. Ignorance is no defense.
Regulation number 3 A, states:
No structure shall be erected within the bounds of any Pleasant Ridge homeowner’s yard without prior approval.
You have a crude wooden structure in your yard which certainly would not have been approved.
Regulation number 6 C states:
No livestock or farm animals of any type shall be bred, raised, or kept on any lot.
There are sheep in your yard.
Regulation number 7 C states:
No property may be used as a dumping ground for refuse.
There is a pile of unidentifiable white debris near your front door.
Regulation number 9 E states:
Excessive noise past the hour of eight PM shall not be permitted. “Excessive” is any sound or sounds that cause dwellers in the Pleasant Ridge neighborhood distress, or is responsible for their inability to enjoy reasonable peace and quiet.
Last Saturday night, the association received complaints regarding some unpleasant screeching sounds coming from your property.
We trust that you will take immediate action to correct these areas of concern. Otherwise, the association may impose a hefty fine, and/or instigate a law suit.
Pleasant Ridge Homeowner’s Association President
I can explain everything. My Sunday school class decided to have a get together at my house to sing Christmas carols.
A few people stopped by early to choose some carols. Marcia Litner requested her favorite, “Away in a Manger”. Our church has acquired a new life-sized manger this year, so Nate Holbrook volunteered to haul the old one off. He just happened to have it in his truck, and was kind enough to set it up for us. That is the “crude structure” that is in my yard. I do believe Nate was trying to get on Marcia’s good side, as he has a crush on her. It worked, too, because Marcia was moved to tears by Nate’s thoughtfulness.
You are correct about the sheep in my yard. What would a manger scene be without sheep? Becky O’Dell brought over her kids’ 4-H project; sheep. She tells me to expect an especially lush lawn this spring. The association should be pleased.
I wish you had been there to see all of us standing before the manger, live sheep and all, singing carols. I know it was touching. We had that sweet young couple, The Donaldson’s, with their newborn, stand in for Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. In addition, the Singleton triplets made perfect kings for the singing of “We Three Kings of Orient Are.”
After singing all the religious carols we could think of, we decided to do a few secular ones. “White Christmas” was first on the list. To add to the festive atmosphere, and because it never snows here, I dumped out several large boxes of cotton batting left over from my quilting days. That is the “unidentifiable white debris” you mentioned. It makes great fake snow, don’t you think?
We attempted to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, but nobody could remember all the verses. Somehow, I just don’t recall “Six Snipers Sniping” being in the song. Our lovely night was almost spoiled when two gentlemen nearly came to blows over whether it is “Five gold rings”, or “Five golden rings.”
We did have to draw the line at singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Grandma Mueller found it too upsetting.
The unpleasant sounds, although that’s a matter of opinion, are, by now, probably self-explanatory. I couldn’t say for sure which carol prompted the most complaints, but if I had to guess, I would say it was Nate singing “Winter Wonderland” in falsetto. One complaint undoubtedly came from Mrs. Brighton. When we were singing “Silent Night”, she opened her window and yelled, “I wish!”
If I have compromised any regulations, it is temporary. After December 26th, everything will be corrected.
In the meantime, deck the halls, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.
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