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Fences Sometimes Necessary for our Protection and Safety

Updated on August 29, 2016


A question that often came up when we were kids was,"Why do they build fences around graveyards?" Of course there is no correct answer as to why and the one who ask usually answered their own question by saying,"Because, people are dying to get in." One recently ask Obamma what ere his thoughts about "defense" and quickly answered his own question with a laugh at the answer he had conjured,"Well, I think "defense" might could use a coat of new paint.

As I thought about writing this article a memory came to mind about the fences and walls surrounding the North Carolina State Penitentiary. Some years ago our son who is visually impaired was scheduled by his resource for the blind representative to spend a week at the Governor Moorehead School in Raleigh. He would undergo testing and evaluations to help him better cope with his disability. It would be a full week of testing but there would also be plenty of other group activities. What is normally a two week ordeal would be packed into just one week. Gary was still in high school but the testing would be done during the summer break. We made plans for his extended stay in Raleigh and packed his bags with enough clothing and snacks for the entire week. His meals and lodging were provided free by the state. Gary had never spent one night away from our home and was a little nervous about the upcoming week.

The drive to Raleigh is about five hours from our home near Hendersonville along I-40 and the traffic was horrible on the Sunday we drove down. There was road construction and what would have been a simple trip turned into backed up traffic along the way. We arrived at Governor Moorehead School late in the afternoon and got out of our car to stretch our legs before unpacking Gary's luggage. We had no more than exited our car when we heard sirens blasting and the voices of men cursing. I have never been in a riot but I knew the sounds we were now hearing couldn't be good.

We were expected so someone from the school greeted us. Seeing the looks on our faces of disbelief and anxiety about what was going on nearby he smiled as he informed us the North Carolina State Prison was located just across the street and they were having a lock down due to insurrection of some of the prison population. The problem would soon be resolved and we should not be too concerned. The whole situation made me uncomfortable but I knew we had to leave Gary and return home. We said our goodbyes and told Gary we would call everyday to check on him and he could call us anytime he felt he needed to talk.

Driving back home that evening was hard and for a long time the only sounds in our car were the occasional sobs of my wife. Inside I was crying to but I knew what had been planned for Gary was in his best interest. About an hour up the road, I looked over at my wife and said," We can go back and get him if you want." We decided we would put it in the Lord's hands to take care of Gary but still we felt uneasy.

At work the next day I just couldn't get my mind off Gary. Our middle son away from home with strangers. I tried to pray but my heart seemed too heavy. At my first break I called home to see if Gary had called. My wife told me he had called and had already made a new friend who was also visually impaired. She said he seemed very happy and had even shared some of his stash of goodies we had packed for him with his new friend. The week went by slow for us but each night Gary would call and give us a report of his daily activities. On Saturday we drove down to pick him up. Gary had a great week at the school but we did not learn anything that would be of any great value to Gary as he transitioned from high school.

Pasture and Landscape Fences

The fences we see most often are the ones surrounding pastures of farms in our pristine area of Western North Carolina. My grandfather had fences made of barbed wire in which he kept his cattle and mule. It seems we were always having to repair that old fence which was three strands and over the years rust had taken a toll. The cows would sometimes brush up against an old post and it would break off leaving a gap where they could get out. The broken fence line was easy enough to fix by simply replacing the post but sometimes the cows would wander off into the woods or onto someone else's property and even get into crops of neighbors. The milk cows wore bells so they were generally easy enough to find. In recent years electric fencing has gained popularity and one shock is usually enough to convince the most honery cow to stay put.

Other fences are ornamental adding not only a valuable addition to the property but an ascetic one as well. These are made of wood and occasionally are a work of art. In our area, many who own horses have fences like these.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Fences do have purpose. My Kentucky friend used to say it "makes good neighbors". I see the state prison fences when I travel south of here and am thankful for the protection they give outsiders and the boundaries for the prisoners.

    • Teylina profile image

      Teylina 5 years ago

      Like Donna, I, too was caught off-guard by the title. On reread it fit perfectly. I loved the pics, but no matter how you look at them they are still fences. Have a feeling your were glad for the big one so near Gary. And I hope he had a time good enough that he'll remember it for fun and friends, even if the outcome wasn't what you desired! If Gary had a good, novelty, if tough week, it will have been good if no no other reason~ Up and interesting!

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you suzettenaples,appreciate your comment.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wow! Great hub! The fence metaphor is great. "Mending Fences" by Robert Frost also came to my mind as I read this also. Good fences make good friends. Not that you or Gary want to be friends with anyone in the prison, but you get my drift. Good luck to Gary and I hope all is well with him and your family!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 5 years ago

      I guess Life surrounds us with Fences...In a way, Gary and your Family were breaking through new grounds that would help him work towards his future. I enjoyed this Hub and your sentiments on this subject Fiddleman.

    • nick071438 profile image

      nick071438 5 years ago from City of Catbalogan, W, Samar, Philippines

      If men and women are all law-abiding and animals would just be contented to stay put on their assigned places, then we could tear down fences and recycle them for beneficial use.

      Can it be done during the Armageddon?

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you DonnaCosmato for reading an dcommenting.

      Thanks SusieQ42 and sampsons 1 as always love reading your hubs and appreciate your comments.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Very good read my friend. I live in a sub-division and my neighbor's kids use to leave their bikes and ball gloves all over my property and their dad use to run his mower through my side yard to get to his back yard. I mow at 3" and he mows in the dirt if you know what I mean. I put up a fence. My grass finally grew back nicely and my neighbor went into his back yard from the other side of the house. I also didn't have to pick up after his kids and my wife's flowers grew back the next year where the neighbor's kids use to run over and up root.

      Fences make good neighbors...

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 5 years ago

      My memory of fences are from my childhood when my dad would spend so much time mending them to keep the cows from getting out and roaming about the countryside. Great story! Voted up and interesting.

    • DonnaCosmato profile image

      Donna Cosmato 5 years ago from USA

      Well, this was certainly different than what I expected from the title, but I liked it. I'm glad things turned out well for Gary, but that surely must have been tough. Thanks for sharing this; I voted it up.

    • Fiddleman profile image

      Robert Elias Ballard 5 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

      Thank you diogenes I read Frost poem and it is a great work.

    • profile image

      diogenes 5 years ago

      INteresting story. I like Frost's "Mending Wall," was it called? Abut fences making good neighbors. Yet we hear how barbed wire ruined the free range in the US. It was invented - unsurprisingly - in Germany!

      Men - and most animals - have always been territorial; how wonderful to have lived in a time when there was so much space no walls and fences (or prisons) were needed.

      The poet said, "Stone walls do not a prison make/Nor iron bars a cage." I know this to be at least partially true from my own experience in Huntsville where my memories, hopes and dreams took me far away many times. And your son must rely on his mental power and visions to susbtitute for what he misses all around him... Bob Voted up.