When Hank and I lived in the Ringville section of Worthington, we lucked out with great neighbors. Good neighbors leave each other alone. Great ones become your friends. Charlie Baker, the Lipperts and Stroms come to mind. Certainly, nothing happened to disturb the peace in Ringville except an occasional car accident.
But that’s not true for everyone in Worthington. We’ve had some good feuds in town, typically over barking dogs, or worse, biting dogs, although we had one notable feud over pigs.
As a reporter, I’ve covered hearings for all of them. The dog owners are passionately loyal to their pets and blind to their faults. I’ve seen neighbors who are generally reasonable people come close to blows.
As for the pigs, it was a case of newcomer against native, and it’s pretty easy to figure out who complained about the sty and who owned it at the Board of Health hearing. A sizable crowd gathered and lawyers had been hired.
The couple who brought the complaint didn’t like the pigs’ smell and worried their well could be contaminated by runoff from their sty. They had sunk a lot of money into their landscaping.
The owner of the pigs, who raised the animals for eating, had responded in good neighborly fashion by moving the sty closer to their property line.
I, of course, knew both parties, nice people, all of them, but they had a problem. One of the locals at the meeting said, “make it real funny when you write it,” but I wouldn’t do that. This was serious stuff to these folks.
Tony Lake, a resident who would later be Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, spoke in favor of the pigs. He was raising cattle then, and he was concerned this could be the start of an anti-farm animal trend. Besides, he said, everyone knew that cattle manure smelled worse than pigs’.
The health board ruled in favor of the pig owner by the way, and the situation was resolved years later when the pig owner got divorced and sold the house.
Another true bit for Redneck’s Revenge etc.