Thursday, March 10, 2016


In about a week, I will be out from under paying both mortgage and rent for the first time since moving to Atlanta last July. To say that the economic stress has challenged the confidence that I initially had about making such a drastic life move would be putting it lightly. But here we are and while I don’t want to jinx things before the closing, it seems like all systems are go. Finally, in the words of Linda Loman, “it’s changing, Willy. I can feel it.”

The sale of our 1922 house will be a net loss for us; I bought the house when the market was hot and prices favored the seller and over a decade later, I’m selling it for not nearly enough much more than that, especially given the work it’s had. Cosmetically and structurally it’s vastly improved; the costs of the facelift and surgery didn’t come cheap, though, so we’ll pass it along to a new family and wish them and our former home well.

Today I live in a neighborhood, a bona fide neighborhood, for the first time in many years; it’s agreeable enough, our current landing spot. But Missionary Ridge, where our soon to be former home is located, was not a neighborhood, despite its having a neighborhood association. It’s a several mile long winding road with lovely vistas on both east and western sides, spotted with placards and canons commemorating a 150 year old Civil War battle that happened on its grounds.

But before I lived on Missionary Ridge, a non-neighborhood with the single worst neighbor in the history of neighbors—and the topic of a future blog—before then, I lived on a boarding school campus and had the single best next-door neighbor that I’m likely to ever know.

Troutking is one of BOTG’s longest readers, most frequent commenters, and part of the glue that keeps not only this online community but other communities thriving and happy. For years I lived next door to him in a campus house, a long, low slung tan rancher, with my two young daughters. And through the magic of the internets and my wife’s much more involved participation in them, I learned today that tomorrow is Trout’s birthday.

Here, then, in no particular order are my Top Ten Reasons That Trout Was The Best-Ever-To-Live-Next-Door-Neighbor.

10. For the season of my life when Wednesday Church at my house was a thing, he worshipped with astonishing regularity.

9. When one of my rescue dogs ate his trout fishing boots, he handled the situation with calm and grace, even though at that point I was simply his across the yard and not next-door neighbor, by leaving me a note alerting me that I might want to reign in the mutt.

8. My daughters came to know him as a surrogate Uncle.

7. Bruce. Getting into the Pit with Trout in Atlanta will go down as one of the transcendent moments of my life, musical or otherwise.

6. Chocolate Babka. And the fact that he let me bring cold cauliflower soup to one of his parties and didn’t totally hack on me.

5. Once he caught me peeing off the back deck in the middle of the night and didn’t make a thing about it.

4, In 2008, we watched Barack win the election in my den through tears and laughter and beers and a level of democratic enthusiasm that I wonder if I will ever experience again.

3. His music themed parties drew the largest crowds and from the most disparate demographics, bringing together the entire Land of Misfit Toys. He still throws them and has even added his own keyboard skills to the mix of what used to be single artist homages and trivia contest ragers.

2. Pants. Optional.

1. And once upon a time, when kittens were running rampant around our shared property, he played Kervorkian to my failed act of mercy. And then for years afterwards, replayed the story, enlarging it like just so many fish tales, but with a narrative precision that would make any detective investigating a decades old murder, proud.

Happy Birthday, pal. Rock on.

1 comment:

troutking said...

Hey Neighbor! I can't believe I didn't see this til just now. Thanks for the the many, too-kind words, my friend. So glad you sold your house, even though it makes your move more permanent than I would prefer! So many fun memories of times shared with you and more to come! I don't greet any of my current neighbors with "Hey Neighbor" because that term of endearment is reserved for you---who will always be the best neighbor I ever had or ever will have! That's why going forward, I'll just rely on Bob Frost's aphorism that good fences make good neighbors! Thanks, Neighbor!