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I ran outside this morning.  The overcast skies gave everything a mushroom-like cast. Gray skies.  Gray streets.  Gray air.  The fog hung thickly in the surrounding hillsides.

My body protested mightily at the physical activity.  Geez!  Give a body a day off, and look what happens.

Last week, I noticed our neighbors at home during the middle of the day. Jody and his dad, who works long shifts at the panel board factory, were loading things into a truck parked perpendicular to our house.  I am not for spying on neighbors, but seeing him out of school on a school day during school hours made me wonder.  Maybe he was sick?  I put it out of my mind and decided I’d keep my eyes open.

I did lots of errands on Friday.  One of the many times I was turning into my driveway, I happened to notice a huge pile of garbage neatly bagged by Jody’s back door.  Hmm.  Broken chairs, leftover boxes.  Seemed like moving debris to me.  I hadn’t seen Jody’s dad’s electric blue SUV parked out front for a while.

The house looked empty.  Not that they ever had any furniture in their living room, anyway, the one time I’d had cause to knock on their door.  But now it had a certain forlorn air.

One piece of paper adorned the dark brown front door.  Then two, both stuck down with scotch tape.

While out on my run this morning, I figured I’d sneak a peek at the door and see what was up.  Just being neighborly.  I checked up and down the street to see if anyone else was home or outside.  Nobody.

I stepped into the yard and walked the short path to the porch steps.  From the below the bottom step (yes, I *am* that nosy), I scanned  a Notice of Abandonment.  First piece of official-looking paper.  The second one announced “Three days to pay rent or vacate”.

Oh boy.  Guess they’d chosen to vacate.  I trooped back to my house in the damp air, my heart heavy.

My heart goes out to Jody and his father.  I hope they’ve found a soft place to land.  Especially Jody, who has bounced around quite a bit in his 15 years.  I remembered the times he came over to hang out with Zac, both of them eating everything in sight.  He graciously helped us clean up the nail-laden roof debris when we re-roofed the house in 2011.  Jody talked with Ruby and petted our cats.  In fact, he talked pretty much nonstop. I gritted my teeth at times, but sometimes people just need to be heard.  I wished I could have done more to be there for him.

Sometimes, life is unsettling.  As a kid, life-changing decisions are not yours to make. I pray this time, Jody finds a permanent home, a place where he belongs.

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