My neighbor has a circular driveway . . .he can’t get out. – Steven Wright

We’re going to go out on a limb here and declare that the Winter is over and there will be no more snow, ice or sub-zero temperatures. It takes a lot of courage to make predictions like that, you know, seeing as how as recently as April 23, 2012 we got a foot of snow. Heck we had snow last April 22nd during a Cubs game, but there wasn’t much in the way of accumulation. Too bad Arrieta didn’t get a season ending case of frostbite, though. We’re kidding, of course. You need long term exposure for that. But he could’ve slipped on the ice and landed on his elbow.

Neighbor 01

Of course, the granddaddy of all the wacky late winter / early spring weather events hereabouts was the great St. Patrick’s Day blizzard of ‘93. It didn’t actually strike on St. Patrick’s day proper, i.e., March 17th. Instead it was on March 13th, the day of the parade that year when 23.6 inches of snow fell from midnight to midnight. Well rock on, partiers! We’re here to tell you that nothing like that will happen this year.

Now that the Idler has guaranteed fair weather for the foreseeable future, it’s time to get out in the yard and say hello to the neighbors who for the past few months you’ve only seen through the window scraping their windshields or shoveling their walks. Just march right out there onto the porch or stoop or driveway and shout, “Howdy, neighbor!” and assuming you’re fully clothed and reasonably sober, you’re likely to get a hearty, “Howdy, neighbor!” right back. This is a good first step in getting the Spring home and garden season underway and will give you a much better chance of getting back those hedge clippers or lopping shears your neighbor borrowed last Fall. Or was that you who borrowed them from him? You can share a hearty laugh while you figure out who borrowed from whom right up to the time when he threatens a lawsuit if he sees you trimming with his string trimmer. In any case, now would be the time to go back in the house and do a quick inventory of your gardening implements and ammo supply before Mr. Grouchypants comes nosing around again.

This is the trouble with neighbors: some are just as friendly as can be and others are a stupendous pain in the you know what. We have the feeling that President Obama is about to find this out on the international scale.

This week, we’re welcoming Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is 17 years old and starred in the hit comedy, “Zoolander.” Ha-ha, we made some of that up, but if you saw this guy on the sidewalk in front of  Le Mont, you’d hand him your keys and tell him it’s the green Buick. In spite of his youth, Canada is our nice, calm, settled neighbor. Oh sure, the boys get rambunctious with their boisterous hockey games and mischievous pranks. They even have former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, playing the crazy uncle who makes a scene at the holidays and hits the LaBatts pretty hard. But nobody gets all galded about anything, and they laugh it off when your dog leaves a tombstone on their lawn. Also, since Justin has moved into the family home, the older neighbors get to gossip about the parents, and how after the separation Mom became a <ahem> huge Rolling Stones fan.

About 10 days later, President Obama is scheduled to visit the other neighbors, the ones we never really got along with very well. It all started with that first visit they made, back in 1960, when they had live poultry in their rooms and Fidel made a nearly 5 hour speech at the UN, a record that still stands today. Plus there was that whole nuclear armageddon thing in ‘62 that had the neighborhood on pins and needles. The president should screen the one “I Love Lucy” episode where the family goes to Havana to visit Ricky’s family and Lucy gets mad when they talk about her in Spanish. Unlike Lucy, the president should avoid spilling coffee on and smashing the cigars of either Uncle Alberto or brother Raul. Also, as a goodwill gesture, the president could offer to send some of our baseball players to Cuba to make up for the ones who keep defecting here. He could start with Arrieta and Bumgarner.

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