The Wensleydales were a select brand of next door neighbors. The father was an inventor of novelty items such as disappearing ink and exploding cigars. Naturally he tested them on his friends first. Lacking such, he made do with whatever happened by his front door. The wife was a roustabout and took her work home with her, dancing bears and unicycles. The eldest daughter was a poet or a painter or an actress or a volunteer firefighter or whatever moved her most that season, and she proclaimed such pretensions loudly from their front porch – though she never ventured further, the poor girl was agoraphobic. And the young son, little Todd, was a relentless Adamite. No sooner had he slipped the tinker and the acrobat and the homebody provocateur than he was out of his clothes, out of his socks, and bounding round the cul-de-sac in his birthday suit.

When his neighbors complained of all the funny business, Mr. Wensleydale would smile and shrug and say they’d move into the trees but that idea was for the birds. His wife would make a peacock sound and his daughter would say that trees were people too and could not stand madmen in their hair any better than she could. And little Todd, of course, would remove his pants and jump in the nearest birdbath.

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