Thursday, October 31, 2013

C is for CURSED

I thought I would bring you a little taste of Hallowe'en this week via an earlier 52 Photos Project prompt.  & so here it is: "C is for Cursed".

Quite some time ago, the pasture across the street was sold to a developer who planned a high-end luxury gated community.  & I think I should probably start my story with that sale.  It was a sizeable piece of land which had belonged to a successful local farming family for generations.  But one generation got the littlest bit greedy.  No, no not in the way you are thinking.  They didn't sell it for cash....well, they did but not voluntarily.

The short version is in a desire to circumvent inheritance & property taxes one generation sold the land to the next generation for a measly sum.  All would have been well, if not for a divorce.  Things that are inherited can be excluded from community property settlements, after all how could anyone argue that something was acquired jointly if it would have gone to one of the parties singly with or without the presence of the other party?  It is actually more complicated than that, but that is the gist.  Had the property transfer followed the ordinary inheritance process, it might still be covered in cattle but because it was purchased it was part of the assets that needed to be divided.  & unable to be divided it had to be sold.

When the land was purchased & the proposed development was staked out we (the people in the surrounding neighborhood) were skeptical.  After all, there was no internet out here in those days.  There is still no cable television.  We don't hook-up to a water line or a sewer line; each home owner has to deal with that privately,  which is fine if you are frugal, but not so much if you are not.  What kind of luxury, all-services-included type community could work with that?  Naturally, we never counted on services bypassing us completely & running lines directly to that future development. 

Then they broke ground & built a handful of sample houses & we were stunned.  The flagship house listed for $1.4 million & then actually sold for very close to that asking price.  The people who bought it interesting case.  Let me say I know people who know them & say they are quite pleasant & maybe they are.  On the flip side, they were very active in a church that I would describe as hate-mongering if not actually hate-based.  More than that, they were the impetus in a campaign designed to remove certain discrimination protections in an adjacent city's charter.  A city I can confirm they did not live in at the time.

The reason given for this behavior was something to do with the bible; I have never really understood the specifics as the round-&-round speak of these arguments makes my head ache.  Also if we are going to start governing based on a book why does it have to be that one? There are other older books (yes, there are), if age is the criteria.  Finally, why be so pick&choose?  I find it hard to be patient with people telling me the bible says so with a sauce covered rib-bib around their necks, I just do.


We were kinda disgusted.  It didn't help that the above mentioned church has a rather checkered past itself.  My favorite was when a teacher at the school at the church got pregnant by a student; A said he had NO IDEA conservative religious education in the rural American south was so well rounded & he would not have minded a health class featuring a live sex show.  Yes, yes we are both aware the teacher & the student probably did it in the dark with most of their clothes on.  More recently but not all that recently, a member of this same congregation took to the local airwaves to defend Sarah Palin & her worries about....witches.  Witches.  Because that was where so many of us parted ways with Sarah Palin:  witches being among us.  I guess I can understand why someone might want to defend Sarah Palin for her views, but the idea that her views on witches were the biggest problem the American public had with her candidacy...? 

Moving forward, the anti-discrimination repeal failed (YAY) & other church leaders predicted that an angel of the lord would smite us for our folly.  & then this happened across the street:

SOMEBODY got smote.

After they rebuilt, the house lingered, unoccupied on the market until just a couple months ago.  Before that, A took this picture one morning of a fairly typical view from our driveway (more or less the same angle as the fire picture). 

As for the rest of the development, the houses were rather shoddy & of the four built only three sold before the market crashed.  Some lots also sold, but only one was ever built on.  The high-end clubhouse was built, but never really opened & as far as I know the Olympic sized swimming pool has never held chlorinated water.  It is a breeding ground for a particularly aggressive mosquito, which pairs nicely with the pine beetle that has devoured a good chunk of the pine woodland left between lots to provide privacy.  Now it looks more like a Bates Motel landscape without the Bates Motel. 

C is not for Cozy, at least not here. 


  1. hmm... have you read "Bad Monkey" by Carl Hiassen? Your story has some of the same plot points!

    1. I haven't! But I am willing to believe this particular crazy story rolls itself out all over Florida every few months.

    2. I started Bad Monkey last night! Yes, I am having some trouble getting caught up in a timely manner...