The gate


It all started with a break-in then continued to a breaking point when a crazy woman showed up at my door, ranting about aliens who had landed at her house. She needed me to write an article to warn their commander not to send them back to her house.

When Tink heard I had run off a car full of Jehovah Witnesses with my shotgun, he said, “That’s it. We’re putting in a gate. For your safety as well as the safety of aliens and Jehovah Witnesses.”

For a while, I had demurred over installing a privacy gate but, finally, I was ready to agree. The crazy woman and her aliens had persuaded me.

“But I’m not going to be in charge of construction,” I warned. We had just had to make what started as minor repair to the balcony but became major. To anyone who has ever had to work with a contractor — especially those who look at women’s ideas and questions with disdain — you’ll understand that my nerves were stretched to the max.

“Great,” he said.

It didn’t work out that way. He was working 14-hour days in Los Angeles, executive producing a television series and I was home.

“Just get it started for me. Get the quotes and I’ll take it from there.”

I called for four quotes. I drew a picture and gave a list of what we wanted. One contractor, the friend of a friend, came but never followed up. One — the one I thought I could count on the most — dawdled at putting the quote together which left two vying for the job.

One man — Brian Parks — hustled to get the job and strived to get it close to our budget. Brian was going to custom-weld the wrought iron gate. Tink, who had been preoccupied with script rewrites and a star with laryngitis, suddenly arose from oblivion when he saw the gate I had sketched.

“Not arched,” he said. “Something straight across and not so high.”

“Okay, send me a sketch of what you want and I’ll give it to Brian.” After a few days of reminders and not receiving the sketch, I met with Brian and gave him a revised sketch. “You can meet with Tink next week and go over it with him.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Tink roared to life. He got online and started looking at gates. From an airport somewhere, he texted a photo of the gate he wanted.

Sit down. Get ready for this. A cattle gate. The kind that you can go to the local hardware store or farmer’s supply and purchase. The kind that when I had a board fence built, I shunned. I had a wood gate built to keep from using the plain, utility gate.

I thought it was a joke. I’m still in hopes that it was, that I haven’t married a guy who was serious about using a cattle gate for an entrance gate.

“Please, baby, please,” he said. “Please let me have this gate. It’s perfect for the Rondarosa (which he has christened our place).”

I laughed it off. “No way.”I couldn’t believe we were in a disagreement over such. Normally, when it comes to style issues, we agree unfailingly.

Facing defeat, he said, “Let me send an email and ask your family to vote.”

“Go ahead. We may be simple, country folks but we have class, style and taste. No one will vote for a cattle gate.” I had complete confidence.

Tink attempted to win votes by offering to help get up hay. Still, one by one — with nary a word from me — voted zealously for a wrought iron gate.

Rodney, after casting his vote, added, “See you this weekend. We’re gettin’ up hay.”

Tink, somewhat graciously, accepted the unanimous vote. But get up hay? Huh, no. He chose a weekend at the Cloister instead.

[Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of the forthcoming “There’s A Better Day A-Comin’.” Visit to sign up for her weekly newsletter.]