Too bad the rest of the evening did not turn out as well. First off, about the time the greens were done, my neighbor hollered over and said she'd bring me some beans soon, but that it didn't look like anyone else was cooking anything as they'd been up at the Shingle Mill drinking all day. Neither one of us really wanted to turn on our ovens, but I just couldn't bear the thought of beans n' greens with no cornbread, so I warmed up some bacon grease and baked my first ever batch of homemeade. Not to toot my own horn, but it turned out to be pretty darn good. The neighbor brought over some beans, and said that her boyfriend was going out of town and "better not come back". I said "What?" and she repeated herself. Anyway, about thirty minutes after I ate, I went outside to sit on the deck to read and enjoy the beautiful weather when all of a sudden I heard "Jackie call the police!". I looked out to the road and saw the two of them out there. He had her with his arms wrapped around her midsection holding her arms down and was carrying her down the road with her struggling to get away and she hollered again for me to call the police. I did not see him hit her, just saw that he was trying to restrain her against her will, so I came in and looked up the number to the sheriff's department's non 911 line. They took the information and were out here within 5 minutes, which was outstanding. They spent about thirty minutes questioning them both then stood by while he got some of his stuff out of the houseboat and left, then they left. She went back into her houseboat for a few minutes, then came over here shaking and asking to use my phone. She said when she went into the houseboat, she smelled gas, and that he had turned on all the burners on their stove and oven with no pilot lit. (I was not aware they have a gas stove and am keeping in mind that I am only getting one side of the story.) We both discussed what kind of vindictive rat bastard would do that, knowing she would go in there smoking, and I did tell her that he struck me as the sort who was going to have the mindset of "if I can't stay there, neither will she" (to give credit where credit is due, he has put in an incredible amount of labor and materials to just about double the interior size of her houseboat, so I'm sure he feels it's half his). She also said that he took keys to all her sheds, all of her bottled drinking water (a big deal out here) and that he had stolen a pistol from her a couple weeks ago. She said part of the reason she wanted him to leave was she found out a lot of things about his past that she was unaware of, from court ordered probation to spousal abuse to gun charges. Needless to say I did not sleep well.
In the cool light of day, with a bowlful of leaves and pot likker and a nice chunk of cornbread, everything looks so shiny and pleasant it is hard to imagine that everyone can't just get along. But then I remember...close quarters, flooding, two back to back hurricane scares and the pressures of remodeling IN those close quarters, and it is not so hard to fathom shattered nerves. I thank God I am so blessed with my own family and friends. I've been in those shoes.