Tuesday, August 2, 2022


I loved living in the small town we lived in in Tennessee. Our house was on a dead-end street. At the edge of our backyard was a dried-up creek bed. I was happy there. My children were happy there.

My husband was a truck driver. He was gone all week and came home on the weekends. All those nice chores that pile up were waiting for him when he came home. 

One weekend he discovered that an unused chicken coop down by the creek bed had a lot of snakes in it. He immediately set fire to it. 

After a length of time the fire department came and tried to put out the fire. The coop was too far gone by then so mission accomplished.

The police issued a strong warning to my husband to never do that again. The shed was gone. It would not happen again. They also issued a ticket requiring him to appear in court so he would make restitution to the fire department.

We hired a lawyer to represent my husband in court. While the judge understood the reasoning behind burning the chicken coop he acknowledged that my husband should have used better sense than to set it on fire without supervision. Case dismissed.

Afterward we were talking to the lawyer. He said to be very careful. He told us that the governing body of the city would look for vengeance.

About a month later I heard a knock at the front door. When I answered it there were two policemen standing there. They were there to arrest me.

The charge was that my lawn needed mowing. I had four small children. Two of them were babies. I couldn't leave them alone. They issued a ticket with an upcoming court date instead of taking me to jail.

I went immediately to call the lawyer. He told me he had been expecting to hear from me. The police had just been at his house. He got a ticket for his yard being "unkempt".

I went to court. The charges were dismissed. We moved.


  1. Best to leave small town "justice" behind.

  2. I Hear stories about the strictness of the law and order in your part of land dear Emma. Reading it first time from a friend. Sometimes too much tightness causes trouble to citizens indeed. Good you left the town. Hugs and blessings

  3. I have no idea if this is a regional problem, a Tennessee problem, or simply a human problem. Having lived where I am for a long time, if something like that happened to me, I would be looking to file a complaint with the state justice department.

  4. I grew up in Pike County, Illinois, pop. 17,000 Went to Pittsfield PHS, You are from the Missouri area, up the River? I have enjoyed your writing. Keep well, stay steady.