The unsung heroes of our communities, they are the men and women of the neighborhood Homeowners Association.

You probably don’t think much about your local HOA – I know that I sure didn’t, but that was before I learned just how vital to our quaint, suburban lifestyle their ongoing efforts really are.  And thus it seems only fitting that while we’re all out celebrating with our sparklers and bottle rockets, hotdogs and even turkey dogs, we should also take a moment to honor those who have dedicated their lives to making our communities, well, better.

For if it wasn’t for these tired, old souls who’ve taken it upon themselves to painstakingly patrol our side streets and walk the halls of our community center, the rest of us might forget that the pool and fitness center hours are 6:00am – 10:00pm sharp.  I mean, really, who reads signs like the one on the door when we first enter, or the one by the sign-in sheet at the front desk, or the ones every five or ten feet on either side of the hallway leading to the gym, or even the one affixed to the gym door itself?  And besides, even if we were able to somehow remember when the gym closes, if it wasn’t for those friendly reminders that we’re given at fifteen, ten, and five minutes to the hour, we might be forced to make our best attempt at interpreting that clock that hangs ever so mockingly on the wall.

Right, as if it knows what’s best for our fair community!

But it doesn’t stop there, for our faithful Homeowners Association is also responsible for maintaining the visual integrity of the neighborhood because we all know that some folks, especially the younger generation, if you know what I’m saying, simply can’t be left to their own choices when it comes to things like drapery colors and the contents of their own flowerbeds.  Sure, maybe if somebody didn’t mind living in a neighborhood where every single house chose whatever color schemes they wanted, this wouldn’t be such a big deal, but let’s face it – purple curtains belong on some Hollywood movie screen, not in your neighbor’s front bedroom that faces the road…

They’re about keeping our neighborhoods safe, whether it’s from hooligans who opt to park on our streets during the clearly designed 6:00pm – 6:00am No Parking on Any Side Street timeframe or even simply the random teenager chatting with one or more other random teenagers in a suspicious manner.  They keep us informed and up to date on the latest happenings around our community, such as who continues to violate specific sub-clauses in the Association’s bylaws and what amenities will be restricted if such insubordination persists.  And more so than anything else, they ensure that we remember the most important rule of all about living in an organized community – without rules, there would be no order.

It’s for all of these reasons and so many more to be detailed out in future newsletters that we owe each and every member of our local Homeowners Associations our utmost admiration and servitude.  As they’ve dedicated countless hours of their otherwise mundane lives towards keeping our communities focused on the straight and narrow, it’s really the least we can do to give their creed our undivided attention to ensure that each individual lives up to the rigorous standards of the whole.

Now on a completely unrelated note, please be advised that Peter and Janet Murphey of 487 Maplevine Terrace have just been issued their third notice that the pink azaleas that were planted in their front garden on June 14, 2009 are not on the authorized list of flowering shrubberies that was most recently updated by the association on April 13th of the same year.  If no response to the third notice is received by July 15th, they will be issued a final notice stating that they will begin to incur a monthly fine of $15 per plant for each unauthorized shrubbery that remains in their garden as of August 1st.

As a gesture of good faith, our resident gardener Mrs. Covert (you probably know her as Nanny) has offered to replace the azaleas with much more suitable yellow sugar blossoms, which lend a more subtle foreground to the fair-minded architecture of our community and have also managed to win Nanny a blue ribbon at the County Bazaar for the last three years running!  We think you’re a shoe-in for year number four as well, Nanny!