A tree had grown through it
Saturday September 06th 2014, 10:09 pm
Filed under: Friends,Garden,Life

There is a gap (still) in the six foot tall fence where the neighbors have been rebuilding it after taking out the last of the damaged old part there after our tree guys got done.

The framework is in place, a few beams have gone in, but the husband wanted to do the job himself, not hire some young’un, and he’s taking his sweet time.

They were married in 1956, she told me tonight.

Her longterm memory is still sharp for the most part.

I was watering my plants and saw them at the gap and stepped over their way. Very soon it was her and me chatting away, just the two of us, swapping stories as I moved the hose from time to time and marveling at how trees, like kids, grow up and blossom and bring forth after all this time. Well, some of them; I had her step over to my side to continue the conversation as I watered the pear tree over thataway–that one was still just a baby.

I showed her where it had been pruned to when we’d bought it in February vs where it is now–it’s more than doubled its height already. And when her husband had found out that their bush was shading it part of the day, he got that bush cut back to the fencetop just because. When I thanked him tonight he shrugged off all credit with a grin and a disclaimer of, “The gardener did that.”

(Yes, the gardener had trimmed a little last week, I’d thanked them for the extra sunlight, and he’d clearly sent the guy back to do more.)

This time she was able to process my stories as well as tell her own, and the thing not forgotten yet, she could ask a question or two of me at the end. That’s not always been quite so true of late but tonight it was and we were laughing and swapping and telling the punch line to the next tale and laughing some more and if any other neighbors were outside hearing us they were wishing they were having as good a time as we were.

It’s brought out the best in her.

Half a dozen times, as she always does, never remembering that she’d already said the very same words, she told me, “You know. This is so lovely. You know what we could do? We should put a gate between our yards so we could just step across and visit anytime,” motioning with her hands from existing pole to imaginary one the width it would have to be. It wouldn’t have to be big; we could squeeze through sideways–and she laughed at that mental image every time. “Our own little Narnia door,” I said. (She drew a blank and then forgot it before she could ask, that time.)

At last she said, “Have you eaten?”

It was nearly eight and I had an hour before. She had not yet, she said, and it was getting dark and a bit chilly; time for her to go in. Said with cheerful reluctance.

I stepped back to my side of the fence. We swapped one last story each. I reiterated that she was always welcome to walk around the block via the street come the day to just knock on my door anytime.

And then she went back inside to her patient husband, whose sociable and endearing wife had been entertained for awhile while he had gotten a break.

There is no rush to finish off that fence, the last part to be repaired between our yards, none at all–not on my side, and I don’t think on theirs.

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My mother, who passed away January 2 of this year, had Alzheimer’s. She lived 2.5 hours away from me so we didn’t see each other often enough for her to remember me from visit to visit. But oddly enough, she seemed to know who I was in phone conversations. But maybe that was just a coverup too. It was hardest on my Dad and sister who lived with her. It’s such a horrible disease, taking your loved ones away but leaving them physically here, reminding you always that they’ll never be back. I’m happy you had the opportunity to share a bright conversation and give her husband a brief respite from the sadness.

Comment by Jody 09.07.14 @ 5:48 am

Good fences make good neighbors. And sometimes the best fences have gaps in them for the convenience of the neighbors.

Comment by LauraN 09.08.14 @ 7:53 am

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