Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Those in the neighborhood of Port Swiller Manor earlier this morning got to see an interesting sight: Ol’ Robbo, in robe and jammies, helping Eldest Gel to haul a large, fallen branch to the side of the driveway so she could get to work. (I’ll have to haul it and the others that came down with it out back later on.)

I hope the scene was good for a chuckle or two for those passing by.

Ol’ Robbo has written numerous times before of the three large maples and the oak which line the ditch between the sidewalk and the street in front of his house., pointing out time and again that this is county property, not mine.

Of course, in the spirit of good neighborliness, we’ve always cared for the area ourselves. We clean up all the leaves each fall as well as sticks and branches whenever they come down. We’ve put in low retaining walls to channel rain run-off and beds of shade-loving plants because grass won’t grow in the space. We’ve done so out of pocket and knowing that these could all be dug up without question were the County to need to get at, say, a buried utility line.

But this is all fairly nickel and dime compared to what it would cost to prune or take out one or more of the trees. And after all these years, we’re now approaching the time when somebody is going to have to do something, as they (especially the one on the weather end of the line) are definitely showing their age. And, to be blunt, I’m not paying for it. I already get skinned to the bone for property taxes – let some of that come back my way.

I’ve tried from time to time to penetrate the bureaucracy (both County and State) to see exactly who is in charge. I assume this matter would come under the heading of “road maintenance”, but I’ve never yet found even a contact point. (Big surprise.) Even if I did, I’d bet each would only tell me that it’s the other one’s problem.

In the end, I suppose that nothing will be done until, on the squeaky-wheel principle, a large bough or maybe the whole shooting-match comes down on the street during a storm some night.

*** A lot of these old nursery rhymes have their origins in long-faded politickal disputes. I’ve sometimes wondered what this rayther lurid cradle-toppling scenario was about originally. Same with, say, “Humpty-Dumpty”. I’ve always believed that “Georgy-Porgy” was a dig at George IV during his Regency but couldn’t cite you the basis for my belief.