No home is complete with out at least one crazy neighbor. The Hedge comes complete with crazy neighbors and people I cannot figure out.
My newest hedge-mate qualifies as a little off. I would call him flat out crazy, but he’s both intelligent and informative. Perhaps, he’s just a boy who never grew up. We’ll just call him Fishing Dude.
Fishing Dude is VERY into creatures. Apparently he has a reptile store, which explains almost everything.
There’s been a new alligator in the hedge, the latest in a series. (The Hedge goes through alligators list my ex goes through women.) This alligator comes in around 4ft., which is enough to scare me silly. Not Fishing Dude – he’s tried to get into the lake to catch the alligator. Okay, not so much to catch the little dinosaur, instead he wants to play with the gator. Yes, you read that right. Fishing Dude wants to play with the alligator.
Call me crazy, but playing with an alligator that happens to be almost my size is NOT my idea of fun.
The thing is all the kids love when Fishing Dude is around. This is where that whole educational and informative aspect comes into play. Fishing Dude has led the kids on hikes around our pond; pointing out all kinds of fish in our pond -bass, gar, tilapia and more. Fishing Dude has taught my daughter to cast a net and how to correctly pick up a live fish. This man has let my girl see a gar up close, touch a turtle and, her helped identify an animal skeleton.
I have watched him tromp around the lake with the kids at night – headlamps on – looking for critters. I cannot imagine letting my 3 year old stand 5ft from an alligator in the wild. Visions of a snatched kid dance through my head. Fishing Dude has done just that – and was very confident that the alligator would run away. He was right.
Fishing Dude lets the kids get up close to wildlife. He touches fish. He chases alligators. Fishing Dude does about a million things my girlie un-outdoorsy self would never consider.
But Fishing Dude is a dad. I’ll give him credit for being a truly involved dad. I’d bet his kids look forward to their visits to their dad. Fishing Dude is a little eccentric and not what I would want in a husband. At the same time, I envy his ex-wife because this man REALLY wants to be with his kids.
Yes, he’s 17 kinds of crazy, but a good kind of crazy.
I see him out there on a Saturday night with his kids and his roommate’s kid. This little band is having a blast. My child is inside made because her dad blew her off one more time.
I think about how really lucky those kids are to be playing out in the hedge with my crazy neighbor. When they knock on the door to see if my daughter can come out, I let her grab a light and venture out. I’m the protective mom, so I sit outside until they finish the adventure. My daughter returns dirtier and happier.
In the end, there are some kinds of crazy this world could use more of – and crazy about kids is one of them.