Home > Stories From Small Town, The Bad Luck Cadet > A Petrified Old Woman

A Petrified Old Woman

Dorothy and her mother Mini came to the police department to report their neighbor, Mrs. Taylor, for glaring at them daily from her front window. They stated she sat in a chair facing outside and stared for hours. They told me they would make eye contact but Mrs. Taylor never acknowledged them. They also explained that anytime they left their house, Mrs. Taylor was sitting at the window.

My concern at this point was that the poor woman was dead and had been sitting in the same chair for weeks going un-noticed. I also wondered why these two busy bodies had not knocked on her door and asked if she was okay. Their answer, “She’s too scary.” Oookaaay!

I drove to the home and sure enough, an elderly woman was sitting at the front window. She didn’t move her head in my direction as I walked to her door. If she was dead, I figured her body was now petrified.

I knocked and Mrs. Taylor moved so quickly, I jumped. When she opened the door, I could hear a voice in the background.

I was invited inside. She explained she was almost completely blind and listened to books on tape, while sitting at her front window, enjoying the sun on her face. After being told to have a seat, I was informed of her feud with Dorothy and Mini.

Years ago, the mother and daughter had a fence built ten feet onto the Taylor’s property. After years of arguing, the dispute was put before the city council and the unhappy duo was told to take it down. When they refused, they were fined on their water bill, and when they continued to reject the order, their water was shut off until they complied.

Mrs. Taylor made me tea and told me her husband was alive then and he handled most of the city council appearances. She was not surprised the two women had gone to the police department and not checked on her welfare first.

One conversation led to another and we were soon talking about our favorite books. She’s a huge John Grisham fan. I turned her onto Robert Crais and waited while she called the library and ordered everything they had. I’ve since started her on Janet Evanovich and several more great audio books.

I know it was quite juvenile but we devised a plan to help pass the time as Mrs. Taylor sits at her front window. When her book starts a new chapter, she places her hands to the side of her head, wiggles her fingers, and sticks out her tongue.

Dorothy and Mini have made numerous complaints but our entire department knows the story and we finally threatened them with false reporting and harassment charges if they continued. Making friends with Mrs. Taylor far outweighs the dirty looks I get from the two malicious women.

When I’m on patrol, I drive by Mrs. Taylor’s house frequently. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch her several times making her goofy gesture. It always makes me laugh. At least once per shift, I give two short bursts on my horn. This is our code. Mrs. Taylor smiles and raises her hand to wave hello. Whenever I have free time and I’m off duty, I stop in and have a cup of tea and we talk books.

Thank you, Dorothy and Mini for your selfish, idiotic behavior. You made 2011 a great year to remember. Mrs. Taylor, I love you and yes, you gave me the perfect title for this post when I shared it with you.

  1. January 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    human nature never ceases to amaze me but every lonely old woman should have a friend like you 🙂

    • January 12, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Oh, thank you though I’m truly the lucky one!

  2. January 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    susie … what a great story! …
    you are just the best ………… keep up the good work.

    • January 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Tom!

  3. January 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    What a really lovely story and what a lively old lady. I’m so glad she was alive and well.

    • January 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      I think she might outlive me. I love her stories and she always makes me feel loved.

  4. January 12, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    That story made my day! you deserve a medal for the sticking out the tongue idea. Thanks!

  5. January 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    My neighbours never do anything half as interesting as this. Very nice post. Very funny actually.

    • January 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      That’s why I have the greatest job in the world. I meet the best people!

  6. Suz
    January 12, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I love your stories – your perspective and your priorities. When I read your blog I feel like we’re chatting over coffee! This one was priceless…

    • January 12, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      Suz, you are invited to have a cup with Mrs. Taylor and I. I’m planning to read all the comments to her tomorrow, but the invitation is open any time!

  7. January 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Love, love, love your stories, Suzie. Don’t ever stop writing them. And please say hello to Mrs. Taylor for me the next time you stop in for tea. 🙂

    • January 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      She will get your sweet hello. Let me know if your books are ever available in audio!

  8. January 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    This is what core policing is all about. Problem solved without drama. The opportunity to do good that would not be feasible in The Big City.

    • January 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Yes, and isn’t that sad?

  9. January 12, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    What a lovely story — glad she was fine and you helped her deal with a difficult problem in a fun way. Now I *really* wish you worked in my town because boy do I have a doozy of a neighbor! 🙂

    • January 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      I had one years ago and she called the police on us several times or so she said. Never had them come by so figure they knew how crazy she was:-)

  10. January 13, 2012 at 9:20 am

    What a great story! That’s too wild – I think her neighbours were getting paranoid. Interesting they didn’t know she was blind. I’m sure she’s grateful you look out for her – a lot of seniors are vulnerable and could use some help.

    • January 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      I agree but the thing I love about Mrs. Taylor the most is that she refuses to be dependent and wants to do things her own way.

  11. January 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    Oh my GOODNESS, Suzie. This brought tears to my eyes … Your kindness, the neighbors’ idiocy. This must become a short story, or dear Mrs. Taylor must become a character in one of your novels. You painted her in such a loving way that I felt I knew her. I WANT to know her and talk books. And I LOVE the gestures you devised for her while she sits blindly looking out the window. Lovely, lovely story. Thank you for being funny but caring you … and for sharing!

    • January 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      There is no way Mrs. Taylor will be out of my 3rd book. I promised her!

  12. January 13, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I love the that this addresses the way we sometimes think of other’s behavior as weird, and make judgements about/against them, without even really knowing or having the ‘facts’.
    Mrs. Taylor sounds like a dear lady, and you both are so fortunate to have met!

  13. January 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    WTG Suzie! What Suz said above…”I love your stories – your perspective and your priorities.” You walk the walk and make this a better place. And I hope we don’t have to wait until book III for more stories with Mrs. Taylor. Her grace and humor are an inspiration.

    • January 14, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Book II written and I’m still editing. I can’t break the rule and put her in. You will love Maxine in book II though. She’s a pill.

  14. January 14, 2012 at 3:18 am

    Oh my! What a story! I don’t know how I’d react. Those two sneaky people are just pathetic and that poor old woman, I’m so touch with her. Doesn’t anyone from her family ever visit her? She’s a strong woman!

    • January 14, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Yes, Mrs. Taylor has family but none live in town. This is where she grew up and where she wants to die. She does not give you a chance to feel sorry for her. I talked her into getting her lunch delivered from the senior center. That was a fight and she gets the lunches but feels she won the war:-)

  15. January 14, 2012 at 4:10 am

    Very amusing story, Suzi. I wonder if our English policemen would use their commonsense in such a heartening way. I hope so. We hear far too many stories over here about the police having to fill out reams of paperwork for every incident. much better to write it up like this.

    • January 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

      I agree but I still had to write the report. We write everything and there is a form for everything. Dead bodies are the worst. Toe tag, mortuary form, physician form, and then the report. All this and the person died at 96 with their family by their side. I’m venting here:-)

  16. January 15, 2012 at 4:31 am

    Way to go. I liked the story and don’t let old age or anything else fool you. There are some pretty amazing people out there…

    • January 15, 2012 at 6:48 am

      I love this comment. Yes, there are amazing people out there!

  17. January 16, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    What a heart-warming story. You are the best.

  18. January 17, 2012 at 11:07 am

    I guess unkind people do good things sometimes, even if it’s completely by accident. I’m so glad you were able to find a friend in Mrs. Taylor, and she is lucky to have you!

  19. January 20, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Bravo, Suzie, What a great story with so many lessons for all of us. Great job!

    • January 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      Thank you Grace. It’s amazing what I learn from great people I meet while on the job:-)

  20. January 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Wonderful! Thank you, Suzie, for sharing a day in your job. 🙂

  21. September 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Sorry to hear of your loss of Mrs. Taylor. Great Story

    • September 23, 2012 at 5:06 am

      It’s nice to have someone go back and read this post and feel her loss. Thank you, her memory makes me smile.

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