My late father, the estimable Robinson B. Clark, was not a man given to wordiness and a lot of yak-yak-yak.
I'll pause for a moment while you consider how genetics works. These things skip generations. And I am voluble because I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle.
Anyway, this meant that I didn't have to sift through a beach's worth of sand in order to pick out a few diamonds among the things he said. And one piece of advice rings true down through the years, and I pass it along to you. He said, "Never live in a neighborhood with an improvement association, and never get involved in any sort of homeowners' covenant."
I can't tell you how many times I have been glad to have heard those words. When I hear from friends who are being told they can't put up a fence or paint their chimney white or have a fruit tree in the back yard, I know where this bossiness is coming from, and I run far away from it.
Things tend to take care of themselves. For example, on recycling days in our town, we can put out anything recyclable - glass, cans, newspapers, the whole deal - in cardboard boxes or paper bags, or plastic trash containers that are emptied and left behind. The guy across the street from us - the one with the blower who gets out there in the fall and blows his leaves off his yard and right onto the adjoining yards - has made a habit of putting his recycling in plastic bags, which are not allowed, and now the trash haulers are leaving his bags o' cans behind. No neighborhood association meeting had to be called; no one had to get out the Keurig machine and make a Pillsbury coffee cake so that Jimbo, the lawyer from down the street, could draft a strongly worded email from the Painan Acres Improvement Association and Marching Society.
And then there's this. A former marine captain in Atlanta wants to fly the US flag AND the Marine Corps flag on the front of his house (as you see at left) and the big cheeses that run his neighborhood - it's called Sun City, for crying out loud - are pointing to some ordinance they came up with, saying that each house can only fly one flag.
Because, you see, you start allowing Marines to fly their flag alongside the American flag, and the next thing you know, you've got anarchy in the streets.
Dad, I guess there is no need for an improvement association in Heaven, but I know you're not involved with one if one, indeed, exists.