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I just caught myself wondering why people seem to like the auditory illusion of alliterations. That was just before I asked myself if I could write a story without sitting properly at a desk. Earlier I was wondering if my back hurts because I indeed did “hurt” it or is the discomfort just a reasonable body’s response to the effects of an out of shape old dude as he reacquaints himself with a rowing machine and the basketball court? Right now I’m wondering about the mailperson who is trudging down the street. He seems all hunched and bent trying to carry and simultaneously sorting his load. It can’t be good for his long-term health right? And what’s with the crazy hours the mail arrives at our doorstep these days? For forever it seems that “mailmen” had these cushy civil-service jobs where they walked breezily along at 10 in the morning chatting and dispensing platitudes all down the block. Now they trudge under heavy loads in the dark of the dead of winter at 6 PM when they should be home gathering their bowling gear for a fun night out. It makes me wonder.

I also wonder about our trees. They are not really “ours” but we are the current keepers in a long chain of caring. But I’m wondering if they are OK. My neighbor, a guy who takes his religion and his neatness very seriously, triggered my wonder last summer. Ray is his name. I think of him as my personal version of the Zealot who lives next to Homer Simpson in Springfield. Ray’s home is pristine but simultaneously bland in a manner that borders the banal. Several times a week the garage mechanically rises and he and his partner emerge from the garage – like a non-Batman might  –  and ride out in their minivan streaking slowly to the fellowship hall for a service or spaghetti supper. Otherwise he appears preoccupied with the orderliness of their home. It’s like they are at DEFCON 1 for neatness at all times. I wonder if that unending preoccupation takes a toll. Or perhaps they are on high alert for the Rapture they have discussed at church and home maintenance is merely some readiness drill.

Anyway, I was wondering about the trees. The evergreens are really tall and probably have been casting cool shadows on my home’s predecessors for 50 or 60 years. I don’t really wonder about those former occupants because, well, because the lingering signs of their presence do not inspire wonder. If anything they annoy me due to their apparent lazy, low craft fix-it behavior.

But back to the trees. My true believer neighbor Ray is a man of few words. Mostly he nods or waves but usually only in response to my half-hearted attempt at friendliness. In other words a cool and uninspiring relationship is what we have and I “own” my part in this micro tragicomedy.

Surprisingly Ray appeared next to me one summer day. It was if he anticipated my move to switch off the mower and magically appeared at my side. That made me wonder! Without more than a perfunctory hello he launched into the purpose of his daring intrusion on my turf and thoughts. “See that tree?” he began. “It’s sick and dying. They get easily blown over and it would fall on my garage if it did”. Before I could begin to wonder about the mighty pine he went on “I like the BirchCrest Tree surgeons. They’re in the phonebook”. In a heartbeat he was gone and left me to wonder about the trees and health and wouldn’t that be like a prophylactic mastectomy to cut it down now and why wasn’t he worried about it falling on my house if he’s such a hot-shot Christian and why has he surrounded his “compound” with extra tall opaque fencing and how much does a tree surgeon charge anyway?

As I turned away I thought to myself “I wonder if there are any cold beers in the fridge”.