Windchimes and Widow-Women in Paradise

No Telling

Writing about my sweet neighbor-lady’s political fright yesterday reminded me of a couple of neighborhood issues in our Walled Subdivision Paradise. First, a brief history.
I moved here a few years ago when this little circle of patio homes was still all construction and dirt and sticks in the ground connected by string. I was seduced by the promise of marble counter tops, six-inch ceiling mouldings, and of never again sweating over my own yard work. Living in a 100 year-old Downtown Grand Dame of a place was fabulous, and while I’ll always sigh a bit at leaving the wrap-around porch and Seven Sisters irises, that old house was more upkeep than any one woman could manage, even with an expensive and ever-changing team of electricians, plumbers, tree-men, and mowing neighbor-boys. I love the smell of New Construction in the morning. It smells like . . . victory.
What I didn’t know was my new Walled Subdivision Paradise would become a sort of weigh station for retirees either headed for The Home or The Grave. I don’t say this lightly. By the end of my first year here, I was the youngest resident by an easy twenty-five years and two neighbors had already passed into their Sweet Release. So far this year we’ve lost four.
There’s quite a bit of turnover in this ‘Burb.
Longevity is a woman’s prerogative, so the majority of these homes belong to widow-women with small yappy dogs and an abundance of hanging windchimes. I’m not sure why the windchime thing is so important, but there it is. Walk the circle on a breezy day and and it’s like driving home from a ZZ Top concert – a bit muffled and “huh?” for an hour or so. Everyone here has several chimes and at least one each of the gonging call-to-prayer variety usually reserved for Buddhist Temples.
I suspect I’m the only one bothered by the windchime concert because I’m the only one who can hear them. I’ve been on the porch on stormy nights watching for tornadoes as the wind whipped frantically through the streets. This happens regularly here and I always enjoy a good stormy night, but the collective throng of these hundred angered windchimes can drown out even the train-roar of an F-4. The widow-women sleep peacefully behind darkened windows and never know a thing, bless their hearts.
In our darkest moods, my daughter and I have plotted systematically vandalizing the larger and more mellifluous of the chimes. We have our moments. We won’t do it, though, because as well-brought-up Southern Women, we could never. If one of these widow-women should pass on in the night we committed a heinous windchime-attack, we’d never survive the guilt.
Or the prosecution. These old gals don’t play.