I Love a Good Story

I’ll tell you one, and you feel free to tell me one.

I saw her inside the front window. She wept openly. Huge sobs shook her shoulders and tears drenched her cheeks.

Dilemma.

Do I pretend I don’t see her, or chance that she’ll suck the life out of me if I ring her bell? I heistated on the sidewalk, my little dog bouncing to continue our walk. Do unto others … “This way,” I directed my pup, and we headed up her front walk.

Her bell chimed, and I could see her lift her silver-haired head, a look of wonder on her face. She placed both arthritis-grissled hands on the arms of her rocker and lifted herself to a stand.  I waited, while the pup danced on the porch.

At last, she spoke from behind the still closed door. “Yes?”

“Hello, my name is Jane. Are you all right?”

I heard her turning the bolt, and the door opened a fraction. “Hello” She had swiped most of  the tears from her face. It appeared no lights were on in the house. The pup began to jump at the screen door when the woman spoke.

“Hi, I live down the street. This is Aime. We were going for a walk, and I noticed you in your front window.”

She opened the door wider and I could see one hand on a walker. “I’m Golda.”

Getting her out of that dark house might help her. “Maybe you’d like to finish our walk with us?”

She glanced down at Aime and looked uncertain.

“I can keep her on the other side of me from you if you’d like.”

Her face brightened. “Let me get a sweater.” She closed the door and we waited a few minutes.

The thought crossed my mind that we could have been home by now, just as the door opened to Golda, wearing a red sunhat. She wrestled her walker over the threshhold, turned and locked the door. I backed down the steps, keeping myself between Aime and  Golda.

an elderly woman

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

She placed her walker on the first step, then one foot after the other. “Thank you for offering to take me on your walk.”

“You’re welcome. Actually, I was hoping to meet you. I’d seen you putting your car in the garage, and sometimes watering your flowers, but we never seemed to be able to meet.”

“I’ve lived on this street for fifty years.”

I wasn’t sure whether she was scolding me, or making small talk. “We’ve only lived here ten years. Your family are all gone?”

“Yes, my husband died fifteen years ago. My children are scattered all over the country.”

“My husband works in the Bay Area. My kids are still here, but today they’re at school.”

“I lived in San Francisco as a child. My family left after the big earthquake.”

Holy cats! I’d like to hear about her life. We positioned ourselves to negotiate the sidewalk, Aime on my left, Golda on my right, and ambled on our way.

Golda stopped and pulled a rose blossom to her nose. “I love roses. Guess it won’t be long before they’re gone. I can feel the chill of winter coming in my bones.”

Might be a good time to find out what had caused her to cry. “I noticed you were crying when I saw you in the window. Did something happen?”

“I just got a phone call that my roof is going to cost $15,000 to replace. I don’t have $15,000. And they told me if I don’t replace it now, the damage to the house will cost far more than that. I think I’m going to have to sell out and move. But the thought of one of those nursing homes where I don’t have flowers or cats just makes me want to die.”

Speaking of cats, Aime noticed one of the ferals that roamed our neighborhood on the other side of the street, and jerked at her leash. “Aime, heel.” She settled back into her walk, but glanced across the street now and then.

Golda’s pace was slowing. We’d only gone half way down the block. Maybe it was time to head back. “Ready to head home?”

“Yes please, my old legs aren’t what they used to be.”

“You know, Golda, there are several men on our street who might be able to replace your roof just for the cost of the materials. And I think there’s a roofer at my church who could show them how to do it right. Would you like me to check?”

“Oh no, I couldn’t impose. But thank you.” We approached her front steps.

“Here, let me give you a hand.” I put my arm under her elbow to help her lift herself. She climbed the two steps.

It sure would be nice to leave her with a little encouragement. “Would you like to give me your phone number so I could check on you now and then?”

“I would, Jane. Thank you.” She found a pad of paper inside her door, wrote the number, and handed it to me.

“Thanks, I’ll be in touch. How about if I give you mine in case you need anything?” I pulled a business card I used with my little freelance writing business from my purse.

“Thank you, Jane.”

“You’re welcome.” I needed to talk to the guys about her roof. This lady was definitely not a life sucker.

 

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Spring, ah Spring

So yesterday we bought vegetable plants and flowers. It’s spring all right. We bought red and blue flowers for the blue pots – I don’t recall the names, but I’ll put a picture in here. We bought a pink rose tree to replace one that died last summer. And we bought tomatoes of all kinds, peppers of two kinds (I have to keep the hubs under control) and summer and zucchini squash. Then God rained on it all last night. Some were pretty dry, so this morning their arms are reached to heaven in thank you. Will throw in some Swiss Chard and green bean seeds for good measure. A radish or two if there’s room, green onions. My garden has gotten smaller as I’ve gotten “up there.” So there is a stopping place.20190329_065026

Here’s a thought. Before I put any of this in the ground, I have to prepare the ground. If you plant in weedy ground, those picker weeds strangle the good stuff. Makes me wonder about things Jesus said. He pointed out that weeds choke out good plants, but when the disciples asked Him if He wanted them to tear out the weeds, He said no, because it would tear out the good stuff too. Hmm, get the weeds first. Rocks, too. Though we don’t have much trouble with rocks. However, those weeds are prolific. Even if you thought you had every last one, just give it a week, and you’ll see you didn’t. Then I guess you gotta get them while they’re babies to avoid pulling the good stuff. But I’ve noticed they seem to mimic baby good plants. Is there a sinister force behind that? Could be.

So, what’s the point? For me, it’s about thoughts and who I am. Yeah, pretty fur stretch. But think about it. If we take a little time to converse with God before the day gets going (before we plant, so to speak) clean out the weeds, we’re going to have a better day. Then as the day goes on we stay mindful of what we’re thinking. Pick the baby dumb thoughts and toss them. What will God do with a mind garden so carefully tended?

Spring

cherry-blossom-white-sky-bloom-48133.jpeg   I’m not sure when the first day of spring is. Never mind, whatever day the first poppy blooms, or a robin wings toward my rose arbor with a stick in her mouth, or a little girl in a sundress and white patent leather shoes dances down the sidewalk, those are the first days of spring. I like spring, but I don’t have allergies.

Around here, almond trees blossom first. It’s the only snow the Central Valley of California ever gets when they start dropping their petals. (Except maybe every ten years, for about a half hour.) The ground is carpeted in white, and people go into the orchards to take pictures of rejoicing.

Another terrific thing about spring is baby calves and lambs. All clean and jumping. Nudging their moms for milk and exploring their world. Soft to the touch and smelling earthy. And baby chicks are soft, too. I know you knew that already, but I would have been remiss to leave them out.

And then there’s turning on the swimming pool solar and checking the thermometer each day to see whether I can put in my toes yet. Brushing the conditioner and skimming almond blossoms off the top. Dreaming of the feel of the water rushing past and the Marco Polo games we’ll play.

And don’t forget planting the garden. The sweat of digging out the burmuda grass runners is exhilarating. Placing tiny seeds carefully and staking tomato plants, oh yeah. Holding the old man (a tender term) to only three screamingly hot pepper plants. Watering, scanning for new weeds, I love it!

So, let’s hear it for spring! Get out there and revel!

Vegetable Garden Gospel

I have grown quite a few vegetable gardens since I started at about age nine. Stuff I’ve learned might be an interesting topic. For example:

  • It’s fun to sing “In the Garden” while you weed, water and tie up the tomato vines.
  • My father may have been right about cussing at the vegetables making them grow. I think I prefer cussing at the gophers, though.
  • Gophers really love bean roots.
  • Waiting until school is out to plant will make most of the vegetables ready after school has already started again.
  • Snails like everything.
  • Dogs and cats are messy.
  • Working in the early morning can’t really be called working.
  • A fresh anything is better than store-bought, or even farmer’s market bought.
  • Don’t grow corn unless you plan to use the stalks because you only get one or two cobs and then what do you do with the rest?
  • If you don’t water, it won’t grow.
  • If you water too much, it won’t grow.
  • You can plot stories in a vegetable garden.
  • You can squish tomato worms in a vegetable garden, especially when someone has pissed you off.
  • You can pray, with a lot of focus, in a vegetable garden, especially any time you want.
  • Owning a vegetable garden is playing God in a sense, because you get to determine everything, what vegetables grow, which way the rows go, whether to chemically fertilize or mulch or use pesticides or go for organic.
  • The knowledge of vegetable growing is transferable to younger generations.
  • Sunshine is good for your attitude.
  • Dirt between your toes builds character.
  • You can garden whether you’re young, middle or old, but if you’re old you might want to get a garden bench to weed from.
  • Wear gloves to till and rake.
  • Do not wear gloves to weed.
  • Weeds are fast.
  • Weed every week, or you’ll be sorry.
  • Tomato vines are kind of scratchy.
  • If you’re the impatient type, fried green tomatoes are really good.
  • Sometimes, vegetables won’t grow, no matter what.
  • Bees are your friends, but mosquitoes aren’t.
  • Plant the shade lovers in the shade, and the sun lovers in the sun.

Now I titled this Vegetable Garden Gospel, and you’re wondering where the gospel part is, aren’t you? Get ready, every single thing you do has Jesus at the center, from squishing tomato worms to cussing gophers to tieing up tomato vines. And that’s true, not just in the garden, but everywhere. So whatever you do, do all to His glory. I just kind of like hanging around with Him in the garden.