gray-large.pngSeattle Times Reporter Erick Lacitis on May 19 published an interesting story on Wednesday, May 19 titled: West Seattle couple leaves all their assets – $847,215 – to Uncle Sam. [See Here.] Included in the article is a reproduction of what appears to be the actual Cashier’s Check drawn on Umpqua Bank and signed by the attorney who closed the estate of a man preceded 13 years by his wife in death.

The facts were that the couple – Peater and Joan Perasek – had no children and as you read the article it is clear that they didn’t have the most comfortable life. Why they would not chose somewhere else to direct the money is indicated by the neighbor. This is what really caught my eye about the article.

Ron Wright, a next-door neighbor who knew the couple for 30 years, provided some background. But he was surprised at the will and its one sentence bequeathing it all to the government.

Peter Petrasek had only told him, “It’ll all be taken care of.”

[The article then closes with the refrain.]

The Petraseks liked to ski at Crystal Mountain.

After Joan died, Peter had no services for her. She was cremated. Joan had talked about having her ashes spread at Crystal.

After Peter died, he also was cremated, and Wright picked up the cardboard box containing the ashes.

He still has the box. He thinks maybe this summer he’ll spread them at the mountain.

There’s no hurry.

Who else would know?

To neighbor Wright who might have a tinge of frustration that he MIGHT have been included in the will, I would like to challenge you to spread the ashes at Crystal this upcoming ski season. Why? Because, you Petraseks neighbor knows.

We have an elderly neighbor who loves to garden and the previous owner allowed her to come on to our property for this purpose every year during Seattle’s growing season. Though it means that our kids must be more careful in the backyard, when asked if she could continue to garden who where more than willing to allow it. In fact, each season we go out and five bags of dirt to facilitate her effort.

The outcome of this sharing effort is that she will often give us some of the prime fruits of her garden. These come at times both fresh and in baked form. What could be better than that. The kids get to see how something that I would not endeavor to do comes to do comes together, people strolling admiringly look at a garden that a number may only be able to have by getting a plot at the pea patch and working it through themselves.

To put a sharp point on it our sacrifice has been minimal, whereas our benefit has been great.

Notably, this elderly neighbor’s property is not “appurtenant” – that’s fancy legal speak for adjoining – instead it is “in gross” – again fancy legal speak for not adjoining.

As it turns out we have only one adjoining neighboring property. This neighbors has sought and achieved blissful privacy for themselves. At one point, and this was after telling me they took down a privacy | sun screen. What they didn’t tell me was that they were going to put up another and one which was higher.

When I questioned them about it, it created for them a brouhaha which essentially destroyed our nascent relationship. That’s OK you have to take your neighbors as they come. Or do you?

This adjoining neighbors house went up for sale on Monday. It’s in beautiful condition so I am almost certain that the person(s) who purchase it are not going to be of the mind to scrape it off or even attempt to make improvements to make a quick flip.

Instead, we are going to have some new neighbors. Both my daughter who is 13 and my son who will be 11 are excited about the potential prospect of having kids which are allowed outside of this fenced property to play.

My wife and I are also happy about the idea of a reset to establish a non-intrusive, positive relationship with the neighbors. It’s unlikely that the new owners will create the equivalent of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, but I do intend to make certain regardless of background, faith, political belief, and all the other silly things which people use to divide … we will extend our hands as neighbors. I just hope they are sufficiently comfortable with themselves and us to reach forward to make the handshake complete. Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Cheers!gray-small.png