Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Yard-ly Wisdom From Charlotte

I completed a lot of necessary yard work this past weekend. Yard work is a lot like exercise. I hate doing it, but when I start and get into it, it’s not so bad. Then, after an hour or so has passed, I feel like I can keep going and going. This weekend included mowing, trimming bushes and trees, and general yard maintenance.

John and I have had bad luck with the forsythias this past year. We planted a row of five of them two years ago. The one closest to the house is growing like crazy. The other four always seems to be struggling. Branches die, we snip ‘em off, others grow in their place. The troublesome four never seem to get beyond the scraggly bush phase. A friend in the Lake mentioned that he thought it was the soil. I don't know, just give me something that grows like crazy with watering.

The pussy willow, on the other hand, is just crazy all over the place. I try and keep it trimmed back so that it doesn’t look so wild. Our butterfly bushes have come back since last October’s snow storm. Vibrant purple flowers are attracting a myriad of hummingbirds, monarchs, and bees.

I haven’t seen our rabbit since the other week. I think it was traumatized by John mowing the lawn. We also saw a baby bunny that same day that darted into the woods. As it turned out, the hollow that I thought was the rabbit den may be the back entrance of a gopher hole. Now I swear that we didn’t have gophers on this side of the Lake. My stepdad Barry has some, but he is all the way across the Lake about 1 1/2 miles away.

Now I haven’t actually seen a gopher, but after John and I debated about the nature of the hole (rabbit, skunk, or gopher?), we decided to bring our friendly neighbor Charlotte into the discussion. Charlotte, whom I have written about before, is a wonderfully eccentric 70 something year old divorcee. She is very good to John and I and is always dropping off random items of food to keep us full: baked goods, one can of Pepsi, chili, ham and pea soup, fake crab meat, hot dogs, bay scallops, and the occasional odd small cantaloupe the size of a softball.

Charlotte was on her deck watering her marigolds when I called her to come over to the back of our house. “Charlotte! Can you come over here? John and I have to ask your opinion on something!”

“COMING!!!!” she yelled and pretty much bolted up the small hill as quickly as her spry frame could carry her. She certainly has a lot of energy for a septuagenarian.

“We have a hole next to the back flower bed and don’t know what made it. I say a rabbit, John says a gopher. Do you know?”

Charlotte looked down into the hole and then looked at John and said grinning, “Ooooh, that’s a hole from a nice fat gopher.” She held her arms up apart giving its approximate size as if she were showing us the size of a prize rainbow trout from the Lake.

“Yes!” John exclaimed, “I knew it!”
I was still in disbelief. “That can’t be a gopher. I’VE never seen it!” I huffed. "And I've seen EVERYTHING in this yard!" I hate being wrong.

“Oh Oh yes, he lives under my shed down the hill. He’s a big one,” Charlotte claimed.
“Well, OK ..., “ I gave in skeptically. (I still think it’s the rabbits or a skunk.)
We stared at the hole for a couple minutes and then thanked Charlotte for her “yardly” wisdom.

She started back towards her house and then turned quickly. “Now boys, I don’t want to worry you, but I am going in the hospital for surgery.”
“Wait! What’s wrong?” we asked in unison.

Charlotte needed “something removed”, nothing too serious, in an outpatient procedure. She said her son would take her there, stay with her, and then take her home. We offered to help her out in whatever capacity she needed and she was grateful. She began to talk about her woes.

“My elbows are going, my knees are going, everything is going!” she declared matter of factly. “I have no cartilage left in my knees!” she declared pointing to her nobby white knees. “John, if you put your hands on them and I bend them, you can feel them crack! Put your hand on my knees John! PUT YOUR HANDS ON MY KNEES, JOHN, WHILE I CRACK EM! DO IT!” she commanded. John and I stared at her with our mouths agape.

“Uh ….” John began, pausing awkwardly, looking for help and not sure where this was going. I looked at him and began laughing. “Uh … no thanks Charlotte,” I said, “If the neighbors see, they might think strange things!”
She started laughing, “Yeah, I guess so!”

With that, Charlotte bounded down the hill back to her marigolds. Gotta love Charlotte!

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