Saturday morning breathes out the walkers and the joggers. As I do my early morning walk-about in the garden, my machete in one hand and coffee mug in the other, I hear their footsteps and see only their heads above the hand-laid stone wall that secures my house from the street. My wife, Tressa, hates the wall. She says it cut us off and locks us in from the beauty of our avenue. I disagree.

We need the wall for privacy and security. Vagrants, men with mud-caked soles and shreds for clothes, frequently wander along our avenue and hold loud conversations with themselves. They will not interfere with us if you leave them alone, my new neighbors assured me when we moved into the neighborhood a year ago. If you make eye contact, they will beg for money or food, but if you pretend not to...

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