Monday 4 July 2016

Beautiful Day

There is a house just around the corner or two that has served to mark time for me.

When we moved into this house, the kids were small, I was thin and nary a grey hair on my head. The house around the corner was owned by an older Italian couple whose kids had grown and moved out. The front lawn was well kept and there were several beautiful flower beds that displayed colour from the spring till autumn. It was the backyard that I envied however. Most of the yard was planted in potatoes and other root crops that would be harvested and preserved. In the back quarter was a large, walk in greenhouse that was filled with crops  more sensitive to the cold. I always marvelled at the tomato plants that grew right to the ceiling and hung heavy with fruit. That man had a green thumb and a good part of his arm was green as well.

The years passed and although I would have liked to have a garden like the one around the corner, I knew that I just didn’t like gardening enough. I was happy just to keep watch and silently envy the bounty that was on that table.

About five or six years ago, the greenhouse only had a few tomato plants and they didn’t do too well. That year the back yard was levelled and sod was laid where potato plants once grew. The flower beds were still kept up, but the lawn was just a little less manicured. I suppose that the work of keeping the garden was just too much for the old man. I would see him sitting on the front stoop every now and then. I never knew his name, but we were on waving terms and managed a “Beautiful day!” every now and then.

I haven’t seen the old man for a couple of years now and I suspect that he has moved into a care facility or passed on. Last year, the greenhouse was torn down and a new retaining wall was poured. I think the son has been doing what he can to the place to keep his mom happy, but it is hard to find the time to do all that is needed on your own house. I have noticed that for the past couple of years a care worker comes to the house every day to look after the old woman I suppose. Last week she was sitting on the front stoop with her bottle of oxygen and I waved and said “Beautiful day!” as I walked by. She waved back but I could tell that she wasn’t sure who I was.

Today when I was walking by, there was a moving van in the back alley and a young guy was laying down moving blankets on the ground. He was all smiles and looked very happy to be alive. I smiled back at him, waved and gave him a “Beautiful day!” I don’t know if he was moving the old girl out and himself in, or if he were a grandson getting some of the furniture for his first apartment. It was a lovely day to be moving furniture.

If you stay in one place long enough, the world will move past and you can see time in a very real way. I’ve watched my neighbourhood age and the people in it age with it. This neighbourhood is in a transition stage right now, the young couples have raised their families and are thinking about moving to homes that are less difficult to maintain. A new crop of young people will move in and their kids will fill the area with squeals of joy and laughter.

Such is life.

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