Lessons learned while reading the ballad collection of Francis James Child.
by David Kessler
I recently bought some land and set about preparing it for use.
It was rather overgrown in areas, and one old building had been abandoned for so long
that weeds and flowers had completely engulfed it.
I was about to
tear it down (it stands on a prime and fertile plot) when one of the locals comes and
explains that I can't, because it's part of some old love story. The next thing I
know the whole town is demanding I leave the wreck alone. They've started a petition
and even called in the Historical Preservation Committee to declare the old shack and its
flowers an important landmark.
I made what I thought was a very
generous offer to leave a small memorial patch of flowers, and only remove the shack and
weeds, but they insisted that it was the subtle interplay of weeds and flowers that was
exactly why it had to remain intact. Subtle interplay, my ass! All I see is
a stupid love-knot of brambles and roses.
I consider myself a
reasonable man, and as respectful as the next guy, but I paid good money for this place.
The story they're talking about happened generations ago. How long can they
expect to keep this run down patch of weeds as a memorial?!
Ready with the mower
Dear Ready with the mower,
People may come to an end, but good folk songs do not - they are
interminable! Leave those "weeds" alone.
Francis J. Child