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Ole Henry Higgins


Every spring in the peaceful folk of Haywood Town dreaded the return of Ole Henry Higgins, who came back from living down south where he went every winter to get out the cold.


Henry Higgins was a very unhappy old man, round and tubby with a bald shiny head.  He had a beck like-nose and narrow eyes hid beneath thick bushy eyebrows, a nasty scowl was pasted upon his face; it gave the children of Haywood Town, a real scare.


Life for Henry Higgins was just plain boring since he retired from the postal service; he had nothing to do all day but peek over the tall high fence that ran along one side of his house and think of mischief he could do.


“The neighbors!” He complained, “Have too many noisy children; they run about screaming and shouting. I can’t take a nap; it’s peace and quiet that I desire! There ought to be a law against having so many children!”


When he wasn’t complaining about his neighbors, he was making noise about something else in town.  It drove the mayor of Haywood Town quite batty.


“Old used cars shouldn’t litter the yards of our town. They look quite messy and make the value of my place drop way down. There should be a tax on all those used cars lying around.” Bellowed old Mr. Higgins at town counsel one day. He made such a  fuss over the old cars and trucks in some people yards that the town mayor gave in and with a nodded said. “We’ll look into it Mr. Higgins, now please sit down.”


Old Henry Higgins sat down, but not too quietly, he grumbled and mumbled under his breath until the meeting was through.


The town that had been once quiet and peaceful, was now in uproar, those old cars and trucks they couldn’t throw away. Why last Tuesday, Tony Johnson found a part for his old truck off Jack Jones old clonker out back.   


Soon the roar died now to a soft buzz, while the folks wondered what Ole Henry Higgins would complain next about.


 “There are too many animals running about. The cows are quite smelly and the goats are too. They’re bleating and mooing all night long. And then there is the neighing of horses… the ducks and the geese. The dogs and the cats…. This town has just too many animals, something must be done! There even too many flies buzzing around.”  Ole Mr. Higgins hollered at the next town counsel.


The mayor just rolled his eyes and said, “Yes, Mr. Higgins you are quite right. Something must be done; we’ll look into to it. Now, please sit down.”


Unhappily, Henry Higgins sat down and he mumbled and grumbled the whole meeting through.


Farmer John jumped up and said, “Mayor, sir. I must quite disagree. This is the country and this is where animals are. Where are we to keep them if not in the country? We can’t live in the city it’s far too crowded there.  Can you see pigs or cows living in an


apartment building or keeping a horse in a condominium? Or ducks and geese swimming in your bathtub? The country is was animals should be kept. And I’m sorry Mr. Higgins if you find that there are too many flies buzzing about.”


As Farmer John sat down the town folks applauded his remarks, but Old Mr. Higgins jumped up and he shouted, “I don’t care what you do, just don’t’ live next door to me!”  And then he sat down and pouted.


After the meeting, the town was restless once more.  What on the earth were the country folks suppose to do with all the animals they had?  It was as if Farmer John had said they couldn’t move them to the city to live.


As time went by the town folk of Haywood Town quieted down once more, but still they wondered what ole Mr. Higgins would find to complain about at the next town meeting.


Now at the one side of Henry Higgins house, on the other side of the high fence lived Farmer John and his family.


There was Farmer John and his wife Judy, their four strapping boys, John Jr., the twins Timmy and Jimmy, Billy and there was the youngest little Susie Lou.


They had a horse, a cow, five goats and a llama. A rooster name Pete with several clucking hens. On the small farm were ducks and geese, two cats and on spotted dog named Flip.


When old Henry Higgins wasn’t looking around town for something to complain about, he was making life rough for the farmer and his family.


In the middle of the night, he drained all the water from the pond out back. The poor ducks and geese had nothing to swim in but mud.


When the farmer and his family went to the city for the day, Old Mr. Higgins crept in to the barnyard and let the goats out of their pen. Judy was quite dismayed to find the creatures in her garden; they had munched it right to the ground.


Henry Higgins laughed until he thought he’d cry it hadn’t had so much fun in years as to see the family shouting and running about as they herded the reluctant critters back into their pen.


Judy looked over her garden sadly; all her hard work had gone right down the drain.  Where the peas had once climbed were stems, each picked clean of its leaves, carrots were pulled up, tomatoes mashed it was quite a scene.


Moreover, if that wasn’t enough, ole Mr. Higgins liked to tease the Farmer John’s children, he took their toys and hid them in the bushes and let the air of their bikes’ tires


And when they were outside just minding their own business, ole Mr. Higgins tossed pebbles and small rocks at them,  one hit Tim in the back of the head with a loud smack!


‘Ouch” Cried Timmy turning around he eyed Jimmy “Why did you do that?”


“But I didn’t.” Replied Jimmy.


And soon, the boys were in a tussle and the fighting grew as John Jr. and Billy had to join in too. Only little Susie Lou wasn’t in the wrestle. She watched wide-eyed holding her dolly tight, wondering what to do.


And Old Henry Higgins laughed again until he thought he’d cry.


“This has got to stop.” Farmer John cried at last. He was tired of finding his ducks swimming in mud and goats in his garden. And most of all he was tired of see Judy crying ‘cause the children had been fighting all day.


He called a family counsel and they talked about what they could do.  Timmy and Jimmy thought it would be fun to shoot Old Henry Higgins with their BB guns.


“Beat-up’em and Smack’em around” Shouted Billy


“Oh no, boys,” Said Judy quietly, “That would not at all be neighborly.”


“Why don’t we bake Old Mr. Higgins some cookies.” Suggested Susie Lou.


Cookies?! Her family stared at her in dismay, why would they want to be nice to Ole Henry Higgins.


But bake cookies they did and when night had fallen; they left those cookies on his front step in a large basket with a blue bow tied to it.


In the morning when Ole Mr. Higgins went to get his paper, he found his gift.


“What is this?” he roared picking up the package, he took into his house.


Hmmm, his cold heart almost melted at the sight of those yummy chocolate chip cookies, but wait this might be a trick.


“They will not fool me!” He cried throwing the basket away with the cookies inside.


Next the farmer’s family weeded the flowerbed in front of Old Mr. Higgins’ house when he was away. Pretty pansies and petunias they planted there; they mowed the lawn and watered it too.


What a surprise, Old Henry Higgins had when he returned home in the evening.


“Who did this?” He bellowed though not so loudly as before, “Who trespassed on my property! I won’t stand for this, there laws you know about trespassing!”  


And try as he might he could not find out who was doing the nice things for him when he wasn’t about. It started with one family and spread through out the whole town.


Whenever Ole Mr. Higgins was nasty and mean to one of his neighbors or raised a complaint a town counsel night, the next morning he found that someone had been kind.


 At last, Old Henry Higgins could stand it no more, so, at the next town meeting he raised a fuss.  He wanted the interlopers arrested and thrown in jail.


“Trespassing is against the law.” He bellowed, “And I am not a case for charity.”


The mayor and counsel folks stared at him in dismay.


"You mean,” the mayor finally asked, “that you want us to find the one who fixed your roof so it wouldn’t leak?  You want us to put behind bars whoever has left you cookies and warm homemade bread?”


Ole Mr. Higgins looked around the room and felt quite sheepish when he saw his fellow town folks looking back at him.  And for a moment, just a tiny moment he felt remorse for his actions.


 “Yes!” he roared, “trespassing is not permitted; a lesson must be taught to those who think they can freely on another’s property roam.”


Shaking his head with disbelief, the mayor said, “Your request, Mr. Higgins has been heard. The trespassers will be caught. Now, please sit down.”


Ole Henry Higgins sat down with a grin quite wicked and mean sat down without mumbling or grumbling until the end of the meeting.


The town of Haywood was not so peaceful after the meeting; everyone was on edge. Whom would the police put behind bars?  In spite of all the kind things that had been done for Ole Henry Higgins, he was still ornery and mean as before and maybe even more.


 Guess he was just like that kind; it didn’t make any difference how much the town folk tried let him know they wanted to be his friend, Ole Henry still gruffed and grumbled about anything and everything in Haywood Town he could complain about.


Soon the winter winds began to blow, and leaves drifted everywhere and time for another town counsel grew near. Once again, Ole Henry Higgins was there to complain about something in the town and its folks.


“Why?” he shouted, “hasn’t anything be done about the old cars lying about? The animals are still too many and not one trespasser had been caught. The year has nearly all come and gone and you have done nothing.” He glanced angrily at the counsel. “You are not fit for the positions that you hold.”

 “These things take time to do.” The mayor explained patiently, “Now, Mr. Higgins please sit down.


With one last angry look around the room, Henry Higgins sat down mumbling and grumbling the rest of the meeting through.


The whole town sighed in relief when at last the time had come once more for Ole Henry Higgins to pack his bags and head down south where the weather was warm.


The town was peaceful once again and the town folks of Haywood went about their business once without fear of ole Henry Higgins loud complaints. Until the next spring when he would return and the whole process started again.

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