The Wall
© 2011 - William C. Highsmith

In reality, it was simply a wall of bricks and mortar separating two homes in a small town in South Florida. However, it had acted as a demarcation line for a number of years. Only a few people remembered the start of the feud between the O'Flaherty family and the Smiths.

Brian O'Flaherty was a third generation Irish-American. His wife was called Marianne. Her family hailed from St. Louis, Missouri. They had two kids named Bobby and Cathy.

Jerry Smith was a retired factory worker from central Pennsylvania. He was a married man, of forty-five years, to his childhood sweet-heart named Ruby. Their only child was an eight year old Labrador Retriever named Pal.

The problem started when Pal was a big lumbering puppy. Bobby was six years old at the time and loved the dog. He played with it at every opportunity. However, it seems that Pal's favorite spot to relieve himself was in the corner of the O'Flaherty's property. This did not sit well with the hot-headed Irishman. This led to words between the two neighbors, and the consequence was Bobby lost a playmate and Pal was confined to the house or a fenced yard. After awhile, Jerry built the brick wall to separate the properties. This really infuriated O'Flaherty because he could no longer see down the street.

The vendetta continued year after year with such childish acts as not inviting the opposing family to cook-outs or parties while being sure to have the other neighbors over. It took a tragedy to stop the foolishness.

On a warm summer evening ten year old Cathy was riding her bike for a last time before having to go inside for the night. She came out from behind a vehicle parked on the side of the road and into the path of a pick-up truck. The truck hit her. Although she was rushed to the hospital, it was to no avail. The child died and so did the feud.

"Jerry, we have to go over to the O'Flaherty house. This ridiculous quarrel must stop NOW!" said Ruby. "They have lost a child."

"I know. It has already gone on too long," said Jerry.

"I'll prepare a casserole to take while you go to the garden and pick some roses. We will go pay our respects."

By William C. Highsmith - May 19, 2011