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I am feeling very guilty right now....
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Cindi    Posted 02-28-2003 at 19:15:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
There's an elderley man who owns the property adjacent to ours and his fence went down a few months ago. His cattle ended up in our grove. I may have mentioned it. Anyway I went to see him, seven or eight times.

I only got to speak to him the last time because he happened to be outside and saw me pull up. His house is at the end of a dirt road with a gate and several large dogs inside. Not the kind of place you get out and go in and knock on the door, and he had no phone.

I explained about the cows, and truthfully my main concern was that they would wander out our gate, (which is usually open)down the road and out into traffic and cause a wreck. He said he would see to it. His wife had just died, kids too busy to help and his health was bad. He came out that Saturday and worked on the fence. Two days later the number of cows in the grove doubled. They were out again.

I decided to ignore it, and just try to keep our gate closed, until I woke up one morning and found three in my back yard, two in the shed tearing into a bag of pig feed and about a dozen milling around the gate. I was there with no transportation and to be perfectly honest I was a little perturbed. I called the sheriff's office and they sent someone out.

The deputy was real nice, said he'd approach the old guy respectfully but remind him that he had a legal obligation to tend to his cattle. The old man came out again over this past weekend and I haven't seen a cow since. He got it fixed I guess, for good and all. Today I heard in the feed store that he was in the hospital. Suffered a major heart attack.

I feel TERRIBLE. I feel responsible. This guy is one of the oldtimers in our town, almost everybody who came after he did bought land from him. Our place used to belong to his grandson. I've seen this old man in town in overalls, wad of tobacco in his cheek, his feet bare as a child's in August.

Fred kept promising to fix the fence himself but he leaves for work at 5:00 in the morning and usually doesn't get home til after dark and weekends he's up to his eyeballs in Triple J Farm work.

I hope he pulls through but something tells me even if he does he won't be the same.

Farmwench    Posted 03-01-2003 at 12:17:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
You love to write; it didn't occur to you after he wasn't home on your first (or 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) visit, to leave him a note explaining the problem? You say the cows getting out had been an ongoing problem, yet you only tried to tell him about one instance before you got the law after him. He apologized and explained to you that he had recently lost his wife, he's having health problems, and no family willing to help him. A good neighbor would have helped him. Or sent her teenage son over on the weekend to help him do the heavy work. Or at least talked to some of the neighbors who've been there long enough to care about this old gent, and tried to enlist 1 or more of them to provide the help I couldn't or wouldn't.
If this fence divides your property and his, you may have some legal obligation to share the cost and maintenance.
We have a (relatively) young, healthy neighbor who doesn't have the very good reasons your neighbor has for neglecting his fence. I have run his cows back into his pasture more times than I can count, and done it cheerfully, even in the middle of the night, because that is what I would want my neighbor to do for me. I have finally just about reached my limit, but it's taken 8 years to get there. And I still haven't called the sheriff on him.

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 16:57:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're right on several counts. Suffice it to say running them back on his property was not an option, too far away and they just scattered. His fence line divided two sections of his property. In other words, there was his fence, and then a large open 30 acre pasture belonging to him, and then our place. We have three sides of our thirty acres fenced, all but that one because there was nobody there and we're waiting for the finances to be available. You are dead right about the note though, that's another thing I could have done. Amazing how we overlook the obvious things.

donna in wv    Posted 03-01-2003 at 10:59:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
cindi it's nice to know people still feel bad even when it's not their couldn't have done more than you did the people who should feel guilty are his family because either they don't pay much attention to him or he's not comfortable asking them for mom called me and said she's feeling a little lonely with the bad weather up north most of her friends are stay-in {most are seniors like her}so we are leaving for the airport sunday morning little brother and i split the airfare and she'll stay a few weeks with both of us till the weather up north has a responsibility to take care of each other. i hope your neighbor recovers your a good neighbor to worry about him and his family should be ashamed of themself.i only hope their kids take better care of them they did thier elders

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 17:02:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
I went to see him but didn't get in. I didn't want to push it, he had losts of family there. I did however get two of his son's phone numbers for future reference. I told one of them how I was feeling and he just laughted and said, 'you cain't go thru lahf eatin' fried everthang everday without spectin sumpin' lahk this'. He made me feel loads better and said he thinks the cows have been sold. Plus a grandson is moving in with him for awhile. Not too bad I guess all things considered. I think it was a wake up call for his family too.

Jim in Michigan    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:55:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi it isnt your fault, If he had a heart attack then it was going to happen anyway. I am a EMT and I have learned that if its going to happen, nothing can stop it,. ...Dont blame yourself,,,,JIm

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 07:02:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks Jim, I am going to see him today, he's supposed to be coming along fine. Maybe his kids will step up now and help him out. They all own groves and cattle. They're bound to know he's struggling.

Why I feel guilty....a novelette by Cindi : )    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:12:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, I'll try to answer all the questions. First of all, there's a lot of things I can do, but unfortunatley four strands of barbed wire running about forty feet is not one of them. Especially by myself. At least six posts were down as well. Not that I would have minded doing it, but without Fred around to help, it would have been impossible. Probably would have ended up falling down again anyway. I do not know how to get it tight enough without a corner in there for the comalong. It would have been an all day job and I/we didn't have a day to devote to it. As I said, Fred's gone all week, from before daylight to after dark, and weekends he's discing or mending the road or plowing or one of the millions of chores that have stacked up on his honey do list...I don't have to tell ya'll, you know what's involved.

Furthermore once an animal discovers that they can find a way out, they devote all their time to getting out again. To be honest with you, the entire twenty acre length needed to be replaced, most of the posts were rotten and the wire loose. Could have fixed that spot and just had them get out elsewhere. The deputy and I talked about it and he said he was going to suggest to the old man that he sell them and save himself the heartache.

Secondly, these cows could have run in our grove until they died of old age. They weren't hurting anything. As far as I'm concerned that's being pretty neighborly, most 'city folks' wouldn't see things that way. What about my micro-jets, what about the corn I want to plant, what about the blooms on the orange trees that they're going to knock off and eat. There was plenty of stuff they could do damage to, but we chose not to worry about it. I didn't get sore until I found them in the yard and in the feed. Not to mention there was a couple of old bulls out there. I startled one when I went out and he trampled a little oak tree I planted to commemorate our moving in. I don't know if it is going to make it or not.

As far as going to see him, at the risk of getting really personal, we have two vehicles, one that my husband drives to work, and another pickup for family/my use. There are four of us when Fred's not around and only three seat belts. My daughter drives herself and the other two to school and back. In order for me to keep the truck to go and go see him I would have had to drive the kids to school and keep the truck. About ten miles with no seatbelts on a notoriously bad stretch of road crawling with orange haulers. There's a wreck out there weekly resulting in a fatality and I'm not taking that risk for anybody.

As I said, he doesn't have a phone and I had to go by there seven or eight times before I caught him home the last time, having to squeeze these trips in when I could get my hands on a vehicle, usually on the weekends. The trip to go see him is about ten miles and like I said one out of seven or eight times I got to see him. I could have tried again over the next couple of days, when I got my hands on a vehicle, and maybe he might have been there. But at the moment I had fifteen or twenty head of cattle standing in my front yard and in my shed eating feed. When the deputy arrived he helped me shoo them off, but thirty minutes after he left they were right back again.

I was hoping that the deputy would be able to talk the old man into selling them, as he may have, we haven't seen another cow since the day he came out so either the old man hired someone to come out and fix the fence or he sold them.

Now, why do I feel guilty? Because there was one option that I didn't try. He has three or four grown kids, older than I am that live all around us. I don't know if you guys can relate to this, but every small town has at least one name that is all over town. Say his last name was Alstead. There's two thousand names in the phone book, fifteen hundred of them are Alstead. It would have took some research to find out which ones were sons and daughters but it could have been done. I didn't do that. The thought crossed my mind but I didn't take the time. I wish I had done that before calling the sheriff's office, but I didn't. I could have given them heck until they came out and did something about it but I didn't and I wish I had. That may have been the answer.

I think that about covers everything, except maybe the 'internet time' remark. I get on between chores and when I can. Living where I do with no transportation, this is as close as I can get to social interaction. My house is clean, my chores are done. I don't plan to change a thing.

Lazy Al    Posted 03-01-2003 at 05:33:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi. Your a pretty good story teller are you
sure this happened or is it a story like Whats his face's granddaddy's coon ?
Maybe you should take the ole guy some turtle soup . Just my thoughts on it .

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:17:55       [Reply]  [No Email] read my turtle story. Means you've been to my site. Yes, it's true. The cow patties are still in the yard. Now if these cows had been problem. I owe the turtles one. Smile.

Lazy Al    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:37:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well then, may the fleas of a thousand Cows infest your arm pits for the rest of you natural
born days . IMHO Smile back to ya

Randy    Posted 03-01-2003 at 04:36:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If one always tries to do the right thing there are no reasons for guilt. In your mind you did the right thing for you.

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:19:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Randy, always the diplomat. I wish I could be more like that.

Randy    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:43:27       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi,Think it, be it! Took me a long time to realize just how good it is to be me. Takes some longer, some shorter. But it's a goal. It was his destiny. Nothing much you could do to change it. Don't waste time on guilt, not productive. And you will be a little more like that every day, because it's so good to be you.

Donna from Mo    Posted 03-01-2003 at 04:14:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Guilt is part of being a woman! We just never quite live up to our own expectations, do we?

tlak    Posted 03-01-2003 at 04:02:23       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Not your fault. He should have sold the cattle after the first breakouts because he was no longer able to tend them.

pat    Posted 02-28-2003 at 22:00:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
not for nothing, but if you were that perturbed I dont see why you could not have gone and fixed the fence and helped the old man out after that many times I think I would have done it, especially after I saw how old he was, neighbors is what it is all about,, I am not saying it should cost you to fix it, but like any farm or anyone who has animals there is always extra fence material around,,, probably could have been fixed easy enough by someone in good health,, I think it would have been the neighborly thing to do,,, but then again I dont have that much time to worry about what proctor and gamble is saying,,, sorry for the harshness that it may sound like but,,, some times people have to bend,, you feel guilty because you feel that you made hime have the heart attack, maybe , maybe not,,, but if it was such a major pain in the a$$ I think I would have found a way to contact him, or try to fix the problem and then let him know, sounds like another case of this is my dam property and I want it done my way, "city way" if he was such an old timer there why didny anyone else around town know of the cow problem, I know around here everyone knows when a cow gets out, and most of us will help the others.. I guess maybe I am the exception and try to get along with my neighbors,, they all seem to help, luckily I dont have many problems with my animals getting out, I fix my fence, but when my neighbors sold there house to there kids they got cows, they got out twice, then they got out a third time I got tired of chasing them and let them in my pasture with my cows,, there they stayed,,,, he did not want to fix the fence,, but his little daughter wanted a pet,,he was busy I was busy, I made the time to fix the fence, that bordered our land and then put the cows back in,, end of problem, sorry but I never would have thought about calling the cops,, you should have contacted another neighbor who knew this guy,,, just my 2 cents,, I usually get change ,, but get so agrivated when no one can solve there own problems,,,,,, well gotta go worry about the people with money and who they are trying to sell products too

hmmm-    Posted 02-28-2003 at 21:58:56       [Reply]  [No Email]
did them cows interupt yer internet time?

mojo    Posted 02-28-2003 at 21:39:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
feeling guilty isn't going to help one thing, either you ARE guilty or NOT! in this case, you are NOT. it is an unfortunate incidence not brought about by you.
but you're not off the hook.
why didn't you know his wife had passed on? why did you only "go see him" when there was a problem? weren't you curious about your place before you owned it etc...etc..?
feel fine, now is the time to make amends,do the cattle need hayed/fed/watered/any pets...etc?
promise him that the fences and water gap are cared for and if he passes on he'll feel as tho things are being cared for.
few things are as bad as going, knowing you're a bother to someone.
good luck

Willy-N    Posted 02-28-2003 at 20:48:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi; Now would be a good time to go to the Hospital and see if you could do something to help him out. Like Rhudson said it could be worst and a little peace of mine will go a log ways. The guy sounds like he is realy having a rough time right now and you could help him or ask what you could. Also go out and make sure the fence is OK in case he could not fix it right himself. You don't want a repeat of the problem and it is not hard to fix a fence, harder to mend a relationship. Mark H.

Renee    Posted 03-01-2003 at 04:43:08       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi, I was going to suggest what Mark and some of the others suggested. Mend your fences now, while you can.
If he is able to talk, you can talk to him quietly in the hospital. No dogs to worry about.

You might even gain a friend.

Good luck

Corey    Posted 02-28-2003 at 20:45:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Even though it's not your fault that this man had a heart attack, I would still say that you can lose nothing by going to this man in humility and telling this man how you feel and letting him free you from guilt. A clean conscience is worth humbling yourself a little.

rhudson    Posted 02-28-2003 at 20:27:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i don't know Cindi, could it be that you have some fence mending to do yourself? if so, do it while you have the chance.

not meaning to make you feel bad, just don't want you to feel worse.

Well said.    Posted 02-28-2003 at 21:03:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
lots of wisdom in it.

steve II JD4000    Posted 02-28-2003 at 19:24:21       [Reply]  [Send Email]
yeah I know your feelings, I have those sometime anyway I would take some time, it wont feel too guilty if you go out and try do some work on the fence by that way you would't feel all the guilty on you. yeah there are going be alot old people out there more likey to boss the young around just like my uncle does!! anyway I dont hear them talking at all BUT my wife does.

Hayman    Posted 02-28-2003 at 20:08:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
He probably should of hired a fence mender.

Cindi    Posted 03-01-2003 at 06:22:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
All of those who suggested a trip to the hospital to visit, I will be going this p.m. My good freind/card playing buddy is a second or third niece twice removed or some shi* and she's going so I can ride with her. She says he's probably going to be fine unless they start making him wear shoes and give up his 'baccer.

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