You Don’t Need Good Fences to Make Good Neighbors

When the first giant tree from a neighbor’s yard fell into our fence and demolished a lot of it, I didn’t post about it. There had been a horrific tornado in another part of the U.S. that took so much property and killed so many. People were hurting and grieving and to post about our event seemed more than a little tone deaf.

A fence didn’t matter much.

Trees-1, Fence-0

But what did matter was that our neighbor (we don’t know him very well) came over as soon as he heard and helped remove the tree.

We didn’t have to argue about responsibility. We didn’t have to beg him to help. We decided he could take care of the tree, and we’d take care of replacing the fence.

The fence is important because our big white dog Gabby is a Pyr and Pyrs roam. To be fair, Gabby only roams in straight lines and directly to Acadia National Park, but still. We’ve barricaded our back porch for when she needs alone time.


Soon, I hoped, our fence would get repaired. Shaun ordered the panels, but winter happens and snow comes and goes and so do horribly frigid temperatures.

“You’re never going to fix the fence,” I said.

“I will,” he said. “When it’s time.”

“I bet that some other random tree will fall and you’ll be all, ‘Aha! I didn’t fix it yet for a reason,’”  I said.

He muttered something the way spouses do sometimes. Since I want to stay married, I didn’t ask him to repeat himself.

But this past weekend, during a big windstorm, another neighbor’s tree spiraled into our back fence and yard killing one of our three-year-old fruit trees and taking out more of the fence.

Trees – 2, Fence – 0

“Oh,” I said, “the poor trees.”

It bashed another tree. We aren’t sure if that one will survive. If it does, we’ve decided to call it the miracle tree.

Shaun just got grumpy while I mourned. But then that neighbor (a totally different one) who rents his house, found out, came over with a small, borrowed chainsaw with just enough gas and chopped up the other trees. We stacked them on the first neighbor’s property (with permission) and ordered another fence panel.

But the thing is? We were all lucky. All those trees could have fallen on people or structures or dogs. All those neighbors could have been punks and not helped. But instead? Instead, we got to know our neighbors, work alongside them, and that’s pretty awesome. We were lucky in so many ways even though those trees took out our fence.

And the thing is that if it wasn’t for Gabby’s need to roam? I might rather have that fence taken down—all the way down. The saying is good fences make good neighbors, but I call poop on that. Good actions, kind hearts? That’s what makes good neighbors. I learned that a lot this past month and I’m so glad it’s true.

But here is the book . . .

It’s called THE PEOPLE WHO LEAVE and it’s the latest installment of the Dude series. Shaun (the husband) and I are currently arguing about whether it’s the last installment. I say yes. He says no. Feel free to weigh in if you’ve been reading it.


A heartbreaking and romantic must-read thriller from New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones brings a Maine teen’s past into a terrifying present.

Jessica “Dude” Goodfeather’s mother walked off and left her and her kind stoner dad when she was just a little girl, but after a mysterious email leads to some serious questions, Dude and her friends realize that her mother might not have willingly abandoned them after all.

The third book in Carrie Jones’s exciting Maine mystery series forces Dude to grapple with the ghosts of her family’s past so that she can finally head towards a hopefully brighter future.

Join New York Times and internationally bestselling author Carrie Jones in the third book of the Dude Mystery Series as it combines the excitement of a thriller with the first-hand immediacy and quirky heroines that Jones is known for.

Author: carriejonesbooks

I am the NYT and internationally-bestselling author of children's books, which include the NEED series, FLYING series, TIME STOPPERS series, DEAR BULLY and other books. I like hedgehogs and puppies and warm places. I have none of these things in my life.

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