I have mentioned a time or two that my heritage is Italian-Irish and also that both of these ethnic groups are excellent at holding grudges. I find myself in a situation where I'm planning on holding a grudge for awhile, so I thought the subject of my grudge should be aware.

Sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend, some lowlife purposefully strolled into my backyard (or in this case, perhaps jumped the fence) and took half of my dog's toys. Bella may be a big, mean, intimidating German Shepherd, most of the time, but when it comes to her toys, she's a big baby.

So, I normally have numerous holey balls and at least two of her favorite squeaky pigs out there all of the time. Only once before did anyone take her toys. It was a neighbor kid who made the mistake of leaving them in their front yard three houses down from me. They didn't own a dog, so that was a big error.

This time I have an inkling it is another neighbor's grandkids. They make a habit of teasing Bella at the fence and have, over the years, thrown a plethora of interesting articles over the back fence into my yard.

I have found plastic ware of all sorts, deodorant cans, Lego pieces, metal bars from their long ago dismantled dog pen, action figures, and lots and lots of garbage, none of which was mine, resting my yard. But then again their entire yard is kind of a repository for- -stuff.

There was the year a road-kill deer they had acquired, reached maximum decomposition status in their backyard, its fur blew into mine and in the early morning light on the bare, early winter ground, it looked like it had snowed.

These neighbors have always been an enigma to me. In the past, rumor had it that the gentleman was some sort of landscaper, which is quite hard to believe, given the always chaotic state of a yard which is more weeds than anything else.

I know they've had some major medical issues in their family and the humanitarian in me has always let everything slide, because who cares about weeds and garbage in your yard when someone's loved one is suffering?

After over 20 years of this, however, I'm getting a little impatient. Especially now, when things are going missing from my yard, not being added. I would never do that to someone else. Never!

I accept that I'm being petty about this in a world where so many horrible, hateful things are happening every second, minute and hour of the day. I get it. But it is also holiday time and I, like many other people, am trying to find some peace, some hope, some kindness, in a season which is increasingly losing its magic.

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