If a tree falls from a neighbor’s yard…
Dear Annie: My neighbor has a huge tree growing squarely in the middle of her yard. The tree is so big that a limb crashed down and broke part of a fence I share with another neighbor. I was left with the repair and the cleanup. When I mentioned this situation and my safety concern to the neighbor with the tree, she responded, “Whatever falls onto your property is not my responsibility.” My understanding is that I have a right to prune branches that might overhang my property, but is it my obligation to hire a company, scale the tree and have it pruned? Isn’t it the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain this massive tree and have it properly pruned so as not to endanger the well-being and property of a neighbor? — “Arboring” a Grudge
Dear “Arboring” a Grudge: It sounds like your neighbor is not acting very neighborly. She is lucky that the limb only harmed the fence and not a person or animal. While she might be correct that it is not her technical responsibility, it should be her moral responsibility to help you with your fence, especially because it was her tree that caused the damage. Perhaps you live in an association where you can speak with the head about the dangers of that tree. Sadly, if the tree is 100% on your neighbor’s lawn, it is her right to do with the tree what she wants. The only thing you have the right to do is trim the leaves that hang onto your property.
Dear Annie: I feel compelled to answer the gentleman who is anxious about aging. As a woman who is 76 years young, I would like to give him a pep talk about growing old. After going through breast cancer, losing my best friend and my husband, and having my daughter diagnosed with (and cured of, thankfully) uterine cancer, I felt depressed, saddened and hopeless.
I made the decision to go for counseling, the best thing I could have done. I was urged to seek various community activities to pull myself out of my depression and anxiety.
At the suggestion of a close friend, I started to attend a local church, which led to my joining a charitable women’s organization sponsored by the church. Next, I began attending our town council meetings and was asked to join a committee. Members who are much younger than I am voted to appoint me the secretary. I am a founding member of a nonprofit organization that is a mixture of senior citizens and younger people. My most recent involvement is volunteering two days a week with a program titled “Lunch Buddies.” This entails sitting with an elementary school student who may need a little company at lunchtime.
The point I am trying to express is that the public sees you as you see yourself. If you present yourself as “over the hill,” this is the perception that others will have, too. You can find activities in your community that will improve your self-worth. As for me, I view you as a younger senior citizen. Don’t worry about the next 10 years; none of us could put a target date on our demise. Enjoy each day as precious, and get out there and enjoy it. — Enjoying My Golden Years
Dear Enjoying My Golden Years: Bravo! Truly, you have made lemonade out of some lemons. Seeing a counselor, while it can be scary at first, sounds like it motivated you to get out of your depression and anxiety. You now have a full and rich life. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your story. Each day is a gift, and receiving your positive letter made my day a little brighter.