“Mrrrrm whrrt thrummm mrrippa,” came the sound from outside of my living room window. It was followed by tapping on the glass.

I grabbed my phone and got ready to dial 911 to report a wild animal or human intruder. Then I saw her. Miss Demeanor was the “thing” producing the tap, tap, tapping noise and fearsome guttural sound.

For the first time ever, I was happy to see her. Relieved, an attack was not at hand, I put down the phone and opened the window. I saw the reason why she had been speaking in unintelligible sounds, not words.

Miss Demeanor was wearing two different kinds of masks – a K95 and a cloth swatch on rubber bands hooked around her ears. The word “resist” printed across the front.

Over the masks she wore a face shield with its own wipers and washer fluid attachment.

“It gets all fogged up when I get excited so Robin at the Hardware fixed me up with this contraption.”

I told her I was happy to see she was wearing face coverings but because she was outside, and a good 6 feet away I said it would be OK to un-layer her face. Now I’m sorry I did.

“They lied to us, you know that, right?” she said. I asked her to identify the “they” and explain the “lie.”

“When we were in school we were told everyone was equal,” Miss Demeanor said breathlessly. “That’s the lie, and then they showed it where it was written in the Declaration of Independence. It says right there ‘all men are equal.’ They lied like a rug!”

I saw the flaw in her thinking. She left out the word “created” equal. I explained it was the greater power who started us out on an equal footing when we are born but it was up to us as free Americans to make something of ourselves in our pursuit of happiness.

She scoffed. “What about my freedom to pursue happiness and own a penthouse overlooking the Chagrin River? How come only silver spoon rich people can live up high with a view of the Chagrin River? Don’t I deserve a view?”

It was clear she was misinterpreting the word “wealth” as meaning an “unalienable right.” I tried to smooth the situation by telling her that living in a glassy penthouse was not always a good thing.

“Elevators get stuck and don’t run at all if there’s a power outage, and all that glass wouldn’t hold up in a tornado.”

She scoffed a mighty “hrumf” before setting down a new path toward indignation.

“You can’t even find equality in the cemetery. What about the dead people in the card catalogue ‘come and bury ‘ems,” Miss Demeanor asked rhetorically. “More class struggle going on over there, too.”

“Have some respect,” I said. “It is not ‘come and bury ‘ems,’ the word is ‘columbarium’ for urns because more people are choosing cremation these days, and they are not card catalogs either. Columbaria are built as rows of niches that will hold our loved one’s ashes forever.”

“Yeah, well, they have penthouses there too,” she said ignoring me. How could that be? I wondered. She read my thoughts.

“Did you know the top row spaces of the ‘come and bury ‘ems’ cost more than the ones in the bottom row for only rich people? Why is there an extra for being closer to God?”

Then before I could open my mouth in protest, Miss Demeanor cackled, “Gives a whole new meaning to the expression ‘top drawer,’ aye?”

As I closed the window, I could hear her singing the old Sinatra tune, “I’m king of the hill, head of the list, cream of the crop and top of the heap.”

Then I burned a bundle of sage.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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