Title: Turfed

Date Occurred: Saturday, December 2, 2000

Date Written: Sunday, December 3, 2000

Written by: Joel T. Kant

Copyright: (c) January, 2001 by Joel T. Kant


While listening to my Sony Walkman, I jogged by the house on Norfolk Road which has so many Christmas lights that I find it gaudy. The lights were off, as the sun shone bright early this morning. In the daylight, I thought the decorations looked nice. At night, as I had usually seen the house, it is lit up like an airport runway. It has so many lights that I do not like how they look. I thought about how different things look during the day and during the night as I continued on by.

If it hadn't been the weekend, I have been in my car on my way to work rather than running at this time. Actually, calling it running would be an exaggeration as I was moving more slowly than usual.

Several inches of snow had fallen several days earlier, but the roads and sidewalks had mostly been cleared all the way to dry pavement. Yet, there were still some patches of ice which remained hard and slippery as the temperature was well below freezing. I had noted how slippery that could be early during my run, fortunately not falling. Thus, caution was one reason I moved more slowly. Despite my balaclava, which is a hooded hat that Holly says makes me look like a terrorist, thick gloves, sweat pants, and thick sweat shirt, I was chilly. The cold had sapped my energy and that was the main reason I moved slowly.

I kept on going down Norfolk Road. I was only about a quarter mile from home, but instead of turning right on Jamestown Drive...the street I live on....I turned left onto Yorktown Drive. I noticed tire tracks through somebody's yard. The three or four-inch-deep snow made the tracks stand out strongly. I thought a delivery truck had driven into somebody's yard. I looked further down the block and was shocked to see the tire tracks extended through yard after yard. The tracks swerved around obstacles such as trees, bushes, and a fire hydrant.

I slowed to a walk and shut off my Walkman. This had clearly been deliberately done. The tracks crossed about ten front lawns.

An old woman, bundled against the cold, walked quickly toward me on the sidewalk. She looked more energetic than I felt.

As she got close to me, she angrily said, "We got turfed!"

"What?" I asked without any comprehension as to the term.

She pointed at the extremely obvious tire tracks, "Turfed! Can't you see?"

The cold had seemed to make my brain sluggish as well as my body, but after some moments of blankly looking at the tracks and then her, I finally realized turf was another name for grass. The grass was under a blanket of snow, but driving over it probably damage the grass underneath. I guessed it seemed to her that I had not noticed the tracks until she pointed at them. I did not bother to explain it had only been the term that had confused me.

The woman told me her name, although I soon forgot it. She pointed out the house she lived in. The tracks went right through her front lawn. She then pointed at a different house and described a neighbor who was very fussy about his lawn. She seemed almost gleeful as she described how angry she thought he'd be. She then revealed that this wasn't the first time that they had been "turfed," although I myself had never heard the term before or seen this particular type of vandalism.

I took leave of the old woman and continued on around the block. I could see the tire tracks swerve back into lawns after the vehicle that had caused them had clearly taken to the road to get by some obstacles.

The tracks were still across lawns as I crossed over to Jamestown Drive. I started jogging again, worriedly following the tracks. Had they crossed the lawn of our house and I had failed to notice as I went out for my run? One house before ours, the tracks swerved back into the road. Our neighbor to the south, who I do know is named Carol, had a bush and that along with trees had been an obstacle that had spared our lawn.

Later, in the warm house, I told Holly about the "turfing." It seemed a term for which she needed no definition. I seemed the only one ignorant about it. She claimed to have heard the loud noise of a car around five in the morning, but had then thought it was just a loud car and gone back to sleep. I had not woken at all.

Snow covered lawns with car tracks through them did not put me in a good holiday spirit, even if our house was one of the few ones spared.


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