Thursday, August 13, 2009

Visiting the Ex-Neighbors

I went downtown yesterday afternoon to get my hair done, decided to go back home by way of the courthouse to get my license tag renewal, and that put me within 2 blocks of where I used to live. I decided to drive down the old street and see what had changed. When I reached the block where we once lived, I spotted an old neighbor out in her yard and decided to seize the opportunity to stop and ask her a question that I've been meaning to ask the next time I saw her.

Vickie is one of those people with a major green thumb and works in her yard every day. She has layered in vines and blooming plants and added rustic iron fencing and little statues tucked in among the greenery. She has the knack, as did my grandmother, of being able to snap off a branch of something, stick it in dirt and have it immediately take root. I remembered that many years ago she got a start of the mock orange bush that lived in the center of my mother's front yard and I wanted to know if she would give me a start. The mock orange bush was always one of the first harbingers of spring, bursting forth with white blossoms along about my birthday every year.

We had a great time visiting and she gave me a tour of her yard. Not only did she have many descendant bushes of the original mock orange she acquired from us, she has altheas of every color, a big clump of lilies like the ones I had admired in the yard of our other neighbor Ben and many other tempting plants that she has promised to give me starts from when the weather gets cooler and transplants will have a better chance to take hold.

We went inside to get soft drinks and she showed me the renovations she has done since I was there last. Her house is one of the old early 20th century houses with high ceilings and decorative woodwork, similar to the style of my mother's old house. They have been painting and redoing wood floors and installing antique lighting fixtures and she gave me a real case of remodeling envy to see what can be accomplished when you have an eye for salvaging unique pieces from antique stores and Habitat for Humanity.

While we chatted and she showed me pictures of her new grandson and brought me up to date with what her two kids were doing these days, we heard a most unlikely sound...thunder. A few minutes later, we heard an even more unlikely sound...rain. It rained for a good 20-30 minutes, good heavy, soaking rain, with loud claps of thunder. She and her husband and I stood on the front porch and watched it for a few minutes, enjoying the sight of something we've not seen for weeks. You could just hear all those plants in her yard giggling with the sheer joy of the good soaking they were getting.

I waited out the heavy downpour, extending my visit longer than I had intended, and thoroughly enjoying the rare opportunity to pass the time with old friends. Her husband said if I'm going to bring rain with me, I need to visit more often.

I left with the promise that we would get together after the first norther this fall and she will load me up with cuttings to try transplanting to my yard. In return she wants a load of pine needles, if I can spare them. (I just looked at her with my jaw hanging - spare them? I've got pine needles enough for the whole county.) I hope by spring I might have the pleasure of seeing mock orange in my front yard again.

Now for the Dixie update--she has a new devilish trick. She gets on the back of the couch, oozes down over my shoulder, cuddles up next to my face and purrs like mad. Sooo sweet, you say. Gently, she puts her little nose up to my cheek - and hauls off and bites me. She's one little rascal.



RMG said...

Dixie...bite her back...but only bite the clean end.

Bettye said...

More and more Dixie and the 11 month old baby that I keep sound alike. Just this week she snuggled in to do kissy-kissy and bit my shoulder.