Throughout America cities and communities have enacted rules and regulations regarding the upkeep of residential properties. If you’ve ever lived in a place with a HOA, or homeowners association, then you probably know how strict and picky they can be.
Many of the bylaws on the books encompass people’s lawns and what is or is not allowed can vary greatly depending on where you live. For the most part, any yard that is overgrown, dead, or looks neglected will generally fall afoul of the rules and that’s when local officials may take action against the property owner.
For the past fifty-nine years 75-year-old Gerry Suttle had lived in her home in the small town of Reisel, Texas. She had recently been issued a notice to appear in court before a judge because the grass on a lot she owns across the street was found to violate the city code. Several weeks before the notice was sent officials had measured the grass on that property and it came in at 18 inches high, which was too long and broke the rules.
When Miss Suttle failed to appear in court a warrant was issued for her arrest which drew the attention of the local news. In an interview with the reporter, she told them that she had never even received the notice in the first place and that’s why she missed the court date.
The next day Miss Suttle was inside her house when she looked up and saw four young boys outside carting lawn equipment in the hot Texas sun. They had seen her on the news the evening before and wanted to help. The boys, all brothers, couldn’t believe that a 75-year-old woman was at risk of being arrested and jailed for something as petty as not mowing the grass on a property she owned. One of the boys, Blaine Reynolds, one of the brothers, insisted it was the very least they could do.
The brothers got right down to it and started to cut the grass. The lot was quite large, and they knew it would take a while because all they had were push mowers and the temperature was well over 90 degrees.
Seeing what was happening, some neighbors nearby were inspired to act. Several came over with riding mowers and that turned out to be a major help. Two hours later the lawn had been fully mowed and the lot was now in compliance.
Watching on, Miss Suttle was blown away by the kindness of the boys. They were strangers who helped her out without expecting anything in return and the simple act of mowing the lawn restored her faith in young people.
The next day authorities informed her that if she just went to the courthouse and signed some papers indicating that she didn’t receive the original notice to appear, the warrant would be dropped. However, before she could even do that, she received yet another court summons the following day. Municipal officials had disallowed all the hard work the boys and her neighbors had done, but this time she decided to fight the alleged violation of the city code.
Upon hearing that Miss Suttle would have to go to court, the boys said they’d be more than willing and happy to mow the lawn again to help her out. After all, she’s 75 years old and no one would want their mother or grandmother doing hard yard work in the extreme Texas heat. Perhaps the municipality can find a better way of working with her on the issue and back down from threatening to arrest her over the length of the grass!
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