Once upon a time I had an enemy. It’s hard to believe when enemies appear in our lives, isn’t it? I mean, congenitally don’t-rock-the-boat smiling people shouldn’t have enemies, right?
However, in this fairy tale called life we sometimes meet an enemy, such as the evil witch in Hansel and Gretel, or the evil stepmother in Cinderella, or perhaps even Attila the Hun (although I know nothing about Attila the Hun, it just popped out of these typing fairy tale fingers.)
Back to the story, which is 100% true, except for minor fabrications, such as the name of our Villain.
In real life he has a nickname which is completely absurd, so I shall call him Goosey. (Ha ha, private joke, wish I could tell you his real name but I am congenitally nice and that would simply be mean because he’s no longer my enemy, but we are getting ahead of the story.)
Goosey hated me. I am a two-bit rural politician serving as township treasurer for this teeny-weeny township in the middle of the woods. I collect taxes. Try to make informed political decisions. Have never yet made a full-fledged enemy of an ordinary taxpayer because I don’t care if people pay their taxes or not. (You know why not? Because if they don’t pay, they have to deal with the county treasurer. It is her duty to deal with delinquent taxes. I will commiserate with anyone about our crazy society where we have to pay taxes, and our crazy economy where folks can’t afford ’em, but that’s another story for another day when we’re not pondering enemies.)
Back to My Enemy. Goosey would come to the meetings just to find weak spots in our board policies and mannerisms. He was one of those citizens who keep politicians on the ball. You daren’t decide to let the sexton keep the township shovel in his truck because Goosey would write a Letter to the Editor. He’s that sort. We politicians need to be kept in line, you know.
Goosey really didn’t like me. (I don’t know why! I smiled at him while secretly plotting his early demise.)
One day Goosey decided that I, as a township treasurer, should collect taxes at the Town Hall. Let’s back up and explain that we rural politicians with 450 constituents work out of our homes. We have desks and file cabinets and computers in our house. People come and knock on the doors and pay taxes, sometimes sitting at the kitchen table to talk for a spell.
When I tried going to the Town Hall years ago (before Once upon a time, that’s how long ago it was) I would sit and sit and yawn and sit and walk to the window and sit and yawn and despair the lack of company. It was painful to collect taxes at the hall. Much better to have 20 taxpayers a year stop by the house to exchange the goods. (You give me a check, I give you a receipt, then I go back to canning tomatoes.)
Goosey decided that the Evil Tax Collector was simply wrong (even though Tax Collector consulted her trusty governmental Bible which spelled out legalities) and–are you ready for this, gentle reader?–WROTE A LETTER TO MICHIGAN’S ATTORNEY GENERAL ABOUT ME!
OK, OK, your heart can cease palpitating now.
It’s all right. The Attorney General ruled in favor of the Township Treasurer. I could continue to collect taxes in my home.
Goosey also sent a misspelled letter (unsigned) with the printed words: “Learn to Bookkeap.” (OK, OK, I can’t guarantee it was Goosey. But I’m sure I didn’t have TWO enemies!)
Let’s return to the fairy tale. You want to learn how this ended, right? All good fairy tales have happy endings, don’t they? I won’t leave you crying, I promise, although you may not believe this ending.
Soon after the Attorney General debacle I had a dream.
In the dream, I was eating supper at Goosey’s house!! (No, don’t gasp, it is true.)
In the dream, I suddenly saw that Goosey was not a 100% evil guy. We were friends as we ate dinner together! We smiled, we laughed, we enjoyed one another’s company.
In the dream, my heart melted in love for Goosey.
I woke up and mumbled to Barry, “We just ate dinner at Goosey’s house and it was great!”
Barry raised his long-suffering eyebrow.
Here’s where the fairy tale gets even better!
The next day is our township meeting. There is Goosey in the audience. Our eyes meet. He smiles. I smile.
We are NO LONGER ENEMIES!!
Ever since that fateful dream we are now very friendly to one another. Mostly friendly to one another.
It is true.
Dreams can change your lives. (So can fairy tales.)
My friend, Joanne, has heard this story eight times in the past many years. I cannot tell her again, as she has taken to rolling her long-suffering eyes.
Because I can’t repeat this story to Joanne or Barry ever again, I will tell you.
And we all lived happily ever after. 🙂
Post script! Post script! Please do not assume I have only had one enemy in 28 years of politicking. Alas. A handful more appeared. However, none of them made such good fairy tales.