There Is a Canadian In My Garden – Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

The Canadian is in my garden again…

I woke up in the morning, went downstairs to grab my cup of coffee, and saw him once again shoveling in my garden.

I forgot about my coffee, immediately stormed out into my porch and was starting to shout when something caught my eye, and I stopped.

It wasn’t just Joseph this morning.

There were tents all across the neighborhood.   Cars were parked on my neighbors’ lawns, and there were so many campfires that a smoky haze had settled over the street.  “What the heck…” I said to no one in particular.  I could feel that my mouth was hanging open.  I didn’t care.  I was too stunned.

There were men — Canadians, presumably — all over the place.

Several were digging holes, one was hoeing, and one was hacking at the Johnsons’ tree.  One was even building a small house in the (appropriately) Woodsen’s backyard.   I looked at Joseph, my utter surprise surely written across my face.  He had a satisfied — smug — expression on his face.  “I told you,” he said.  “This is my land.  And this (he waved out at the entire neighborhood– is all of our (he motioned to all the men and tents) land.”  After a moment, he added, “And we are from Canada.”

“Holy heck,” I said under my breath, looking all around me.  I didn’t know how to respond.  What was happening?  It seemed like another hallucination.  But it wasn’t.  What does one do when something so outrageous as this happens in a civilized city?  I’ll just call the police, I thought.

Already my neighbors were appearing on their porches.  The Crosbys stood in stunned disbelief.  Mr. Johnson raced to protect his tree.  Suddenly, Woodsen, an older gentleman — a Vietnam vet and a notorious hothead — emerged with a gun.  “Get off my property!” he hollered, and when no one moved he leveled the gun and shot the Canadian building the house.

Before the echo of the gun had died away, all chaos broke loose.

The wounded Canadian screaming in pain, neighbors chasing after the Canadians, some Canadians racing to the aid of their friend while others ran for safety.  One of the Canadians hurled a shovel, which narrowly missed both the Crosbys.

It was mayhem.

But soon the Canadians were climbing in their cars.  The sound of many cars roared to life, the cars all pulled into gear at once as though on queue, and soon after there was a louder roar as the Canadians raced to safety.

As the last of the cars turned onto the street and drove away, we all whooped for joy at once.  We’d chased off the Canadians!  But then the joy settled into bemusement and even perhaps a little fear.

Wait a minute, we all seemed to think at once.  What was happening?  Why were Canadians treating our neighborhood like a campground?  Would they come back?

Clearly my incident with Joseph had not been an isolated event by a wigged out Canadian.  Something more was at work here.  But what?

Copyright 2017, all rights reserved.

There Is a Canadian In My Garden – Part 2

There Is A Canadian In My Garden – A Serial Novella

A fictional story just for fun and inspired by the US Homestead Act, 1862. Canada was chosen since it is my nearest international neighbor, and is in no way meant to reflect Canada, its policies or its people. My grandfather immigrated from Canada so it is close to my heart 🙂

There is a man in my garden. When I saw him early this morning at sunrise I didn’t think too much about it — maybe he was looking for his lost dog, after all. But then he took a shovel and started digging, and now I had a problem.

I stepped out on the porch and demanded, “Hey there, what are you doing?”

I startled him. He stopped his shoveling and looked at me. “I am from Canada,” he said by way of explanation.

“What are you talking about? ” I asked. And then I noticed his tent in my backyard. He had a tent pitched square in my backyard. Behind the tent, he’d parked his car, and a woman (his wife?) and a young child were building a fire near my cedar tree.

“Just what in the heck are you doing?” I asked again.

“I’m digging an outhouse,” he said. “At least until I get my house built.”

“Again, what are you talking about?”

“I’m from Canada,” he said again, and extracted a parchment from his pocket. In fact, it was a deed issued by the government of Canada, entitling one “Joseph Pickens” to my land. It even listed my specific address. “I was given this land by the Canadian government, and it is legally mine.”

“Are you nuts?? I live here. This is my house. You are on my property. Take your family and get off! And don’t put your tent or your car on my lawn again!”

“But I am from Canada. This is my land.” He was a mixture of bemused and increasingly indignant.

Now, I’d had enough. I was a fit and muscular man, and I used these muscles to my advantage: I grabbed Joseph Pickens by the collar, walked him to the street and threw him to the ground. “Now try coming on my property again,” I said, standing over him. If I’d been a gorilla, I would have beat my chest, but I am a human so instead towered over him with my hands on my hips. Later, I’d realize I was wearing only a half-open bathrobe and a pair of pajamas (not exactly befitting my stance and posture at that particular moment).

His wife and child had now gotten into the car and tore through my yard toward Joseph Pickens. I jumped back to avoid getting run over, and the car screeched to a halt. Joseph picked himself up from the ground, shook a fist at me, and cried, “This isn’t over. You’ll see. The Canadian government gave me this land!” With that, he leapt in the passenger seat, slammed the door shut, his wife stomped on the accelerator and just like that they were gone.

But the shovel, tent and the fire remained.

Convinced I was hallucinating, I none-the-less walked to the tent, pulled it from its stakes and threw it into the street atop the shovel. I doused the fire with the hose, hardly believing the start I was having to my day.

My neighbors appeared on their porches. “What is going on?” Beth Crosby from across the street called.

“Some crazy dude from Canada said this was his land. He had a campsite in my backyard and everything.” This sparked some laughter, and my mood lightened a little.

Beth Crosby said she’d organize a Neighborhood Watch meeting. “There are too many crazies running around,” she said. “It’d be good for all of us neighbors to get together again.”

I thought this bizarre scene — where I clearly was not hallucinating but just as clearly the man and his wife were on drugs — was over.

But I was wrong…

Copyright 2017, All rights reserved.


There Is A Canadian In My Garden – A Serial Novella

Reading “Hershey” by D’Antonio and liking it

Reading Hershey, by D’Antonio, which is ultimately about the Hershey school but with substantial amounts dedicated to the Hershey History.  Hershey was born to a dreamer, charistmatic and a bit of a snake-oil salesman father and a menninite mother (an odd combination).  As a young boy, he went to work at a confectioner (candy shoppe) which were popular at the time, and with his mom’s intervention learned to be a candy maker.  After four unsuccessful tries financed by his mom’s successful farmer family, he found success with a caramel formula he found in Denver then produced locally in Lancaster (PA).  His mom and aunt’s presence were instrumental in his early successees, and he became quite weatlhy when a London importer stumbled upon his caramel and made bulk orders shortly before Hershey’s business went under.  In other words, he was lucky although a hard worker.  Eventually, he sold his caramel business for 1M to a competitor, and bought land in Derry’s Creek to construct a huge factory and town for his chocolates, which were still experimental, dominated by the Swiss (and Cadbury) but new to Americans.  As his huge investment (1M) neared completion, his loyal worker perfected the recipe for milk choclate (earning a 100 USD bonus), and the factory (and town) became a monstrous success.  He used some of this money to build a school for boys at a time when many orphanages were being built to serve the high numbers of poor orphans.

Hershey was lucky and had the support of his family, but also was a hard worker who was dedicated to his craft of making candy, and took a substantial risk in building the what would be the town of Hershey (200K of his 1M windfall was spent in acquiring the land alone, and several of his supports more or less called him crazy for taking on the risk).

This is a fascinating, well-researched, well-written/told story.

Reading “Hershey” by D’Antonio and liking it