Sunday, October 3, 2010


Some houses get egged by hooligans. Ours has suffered on occasion. Even more get toilet papered. Ours has met with that fate as well. A less destructive form of taunting is the forking, with plastic forks thrust into the ground tines down—sometimes by the hundreds. We’ve had that, too.

Even more enjoyable is the true vandalism. Like the fist-sized rock that was thrown through the back window of one of the cars spending the night on the driveway last year. That was fun. Nothing like trying to replace a pane of glass on a twenty-two year old car. They aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. And a few weeks ago someone was kind enough to take advantage of our open garage door and abscond with my bicycle.

Thank you sir or madam, I hope you are enjoying my fairly pricey bike. And I hope you crash and break your neck.

Despite the trials and tribulations we have faced in the matter of various house assaults, we Baxters keep a stiff upper lip. After all, who can tell from where these attacks originate? The three teenagers certainly have crossed paths with people who either love or hate them. And Kristin teaches at a middle school, so lots of young hooligans know her.

I am a paragon of virtue, as you no doubt are aware, but I live about two miles from where I grew up. I am in the midst of friends, neighbors, shopkeepers, and crossing guards who have known me since I was not a paragon of virtue, and some of them may be holding a grudge. Or many of them might be holding several grudges.

It just may be that I am the black hole of grudges.

The other morning we all exited the house to go to school or work (or in my case, wherever it is I go when I go somewhere) and once again found something in the front yard that wasn’t there when we went to bed. It appeared to be graffiti on the driveway, and we were momentarily horrified, until we got a little closer.

One message read: I♥KB.

The other: You’re an awesome family!

Some sort of cheerful, positive affirmation graffiti. We are, of course, an awesome family, led by the awesome wife/mother Kristin. Three awesome kids, and a reasonably awesome dog I like to make fun of. Which makes me a different kind of awesome: only a little bit of awe. Not quite as much as the others. My family members are full of awesomeness; you might even say they are awe-full. But that doesn’t sound right, does it?

The question, then, is not who is awesome. The question is, who is KB?

KB is, of course, Kelsey Baxter. She’s a senior in high school and on the field hockey team, and she and her friends appear to enjoy driving around and writing messages on each other’s cars. She’s a leading candidate for the target of the attack, but there is no way to tell for sure.

After all, KB is also Kyle Baxter. Perhaps someone loves my youngest child and only son. Well, of course someone does. Momma does. Grandmas and Grandpas do too. But this is a message scrawled on pavement. This takes a certain amount of passion, heretofore unknown in Kyle’s young life. I’m sure if he could track down who did it he might just find his date for the upcoming homecoming dance.

Let us not forget: KB could be for Kate. Sure she lives in Arizona now, but I’m certain there are still people in San Jose who pine for her. I know I do (but I also know I wasn’t the one who desecrated my driveway). Former classmates, babysitting clients, the possibilities are endless.

Last but not least, I♥KB might have been written for Kristin. I certainly could have written the note for her, except like I said—I didn’t do it. I am, however, willing to fight anyone who would write such a love note to my wife, though I would prefer some sort of amicable agreement. Maybe I could have her Tuesdays and Thursdays and every other weekend.

Let me know, Graffiti Artist, who you were writing to, and if I need to tell Kristin to pack.

There’s been no rain lately to confirm that these two notes weren’t written with some sort of permanent stain, but I think they will eventually dissolve, during an early fall storm. Or maybe a blast from the hose. I am reasonably certain that the notes, positive though they are, will not be around in perpetuity.

There’s only one thing I know with 100% certainty: no matter how full of awe I might be, the ♥ wasn’t meant for me.

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