Monday, September 26, 2011

tennis anyone?

 Third on the list of the seven by seven award is the 'most popular' post. I'm not sure if this is THE most popular post but it's one of them.

the tennis courts - a true story

Imagine a house, a small house with a long drive on a dead end road. There is a peach tree in the yard and a wide porch running the length of the house with potted plants; violets and petunias and zinnias and tomatoes, vines and flowers hanging over the rail. There is a stone wall and a lupine field that blooms purple in the summer, paths that lead deep into the woods.

You’ve scrimped and saved for this house, jumped through hoops, made deals with the devil. But it’s yours now, small maybe, but all yours.

Skip ahead 10 years or more. It is the last day of your vacation. But instead of being woken by the sweet sound of birds singing in the trees outside your window you are jolted awake by the ugly roar of a bulldozer, ripping and tearing through the beautiful lupine field. And you find, much to your surprise and dismay, that a tennis court will soon be your neighbor, instead of lupines and wildflowers.

How did this happen? Why weren’t you notified? Aren’t there rules? Regulations?

Worse yet, you soon discover that you have no recourse. The fact that your view over the stone wall will be forever married by an unsightly chain link fence doesn’t hold sway and all you get are a few evergreens to mitigate your suffering.

Ah, but wait, it isn’t over yet. Soon, you are woken again, though not to the sound of a bulldozer but rather to the more innocuous sound of a tennis ball being hit back and forth, from racket to court to racket and back again. Over and over. It is 6am. Your alarm hasn’t even gone off yet.

You ignore them at first. But it happens again and again and finally you do go over and politely inform the tennis enthusiasts that the courts do not open until 8am.

‘Oh, really? I had no idea,’ they always say.

READ THE SIGN, you want to yell back.

Finally you call to complain, because if you go over there now you will not be polite. You will be loud and foul-mouthed and angry and this will not help.

‘Oh, is it the kids?’

‘No, it’s the women,’ you answer.

Of course it’s not the kids. They are smart enough to be sleeping in at the ungodly hour of 6am. It’s the women, the over 50 crowd who, for whatever reason, think that 6am is the perfect time to play tennis. They ignore the gate at the drive, parking in the lot above and walking down in their cute white skirts and million dollar rackets. They don’t read the enormous sign posted with the rules and regulations, which specifically states that the courts do not open until 8am. Or if they do read the sign they it because after all, rules do not apply to the ladies from New Harbor, and Pemaquid, and Chamberlain who drive up from their summer ‘cottages’ on the water to play tennis for free on the local high school’s courts.

And of course, nothing is ever done. No one ever locks the door to the court like they should at the end of the day so anyone can come the next morning no matter how early and play and laugh and gossip over the nets with no thought whom they might disturb. And if you go over, they will only look at you in surprise. They can’t possibly comprehend how you could despise a tennis court. They never saw the lupine field in bloom, all vivid violets and blue and pink. They never saw the wildflowers bordering the edge of the field, the black-eyes susans, the daisies and buttercups, the Queen Ane’s Lace, or the wild irises.

They never sat on the porch and just listened to the wind.


  1. Think that would be the time I purchased a box of cheap locks...

  2. That so sad! :-(

    Not on the same scale but I pass this really grotty station on my commute to work and some wonderful soul over the years converted this dirt track between the station gates and warehouse yard into a wild flower haven. Over the years whoever it was really looked after this tiny patch of garden and over the years it was a pleasure to see as my train went past. Unfortunately it looks like the warehouse company decided it didn't like it and over the past weeks have dug up the garden and are now in the process of paving it over. :-(

    Absolute heathens.

    Take care

  3. Beautifully written. I ache for your field.

  4. My heart breaks when peace and wellbeing fall to so-called progress. No platitudes work after losing something of beauty.

  5. That tennis court is someone's perverted idea of "progress."

  6. Alex, I've been tempted.

    Old Kitty, worse than Heathens.

    Heather, thank you. I miss it, too.

    Huntress, agreed.

    Susan, Yeah, I liked the wildflowers better - they were better neighbors.

  7. What a whimsical piece! I can feel the longing in the voice. Well written!

    It's so sad that my hubby grew up in a rural area of farm fields and cows and sheep, but now it's so defaced with so many houses, shopping centers, fast food chains, super stories... *Sigh*


  8. I love tennis, but it breaks my heart to think of you losing your beautiful field. What a loss.

  9. So sad. Make me think of the the sign boards that say: "Buy a development in unspoilt nature." Just irritates the life out of me.

  10. I remember you posted about this a while back. Sucks...

  11. Oh, tres frustrating. I'm imagining the ping-pong-ing of the balls. So sad. I'm with Alex, cheap locks sound good!


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