It took us a few days to figure out that the blazing fury of summer has passed, and the cool breeze of fall has begun. I've been clueless to a change in the weather here in TN. I stepped outside in the evening and it felt cooler outside than in. So last night we opened windows around the house and turned off the air conditioning for the first time in a while. Now the homemade curtains made from antique fabric flap in a gentle wind into my bedroom. I haven't been crazy about parting the curtains in my room, since I've been home from Santa Barabara for weeks and my yard transformed into a jungle of gnarly weeds choking the remaining flowers in hardly discernable beds. I don't just have a simple yard, because I live on several acres. I "keep" about 2 1/2 acres of the land. The rest of the land gets an occasional haircut but is mostly wild. I used quotation marks for "keep", because up until this week, the "kept" part looked like the yard of the lawn of your worst neighbor. The one who has weeds growing up through the doghouse though the dog died 14 years before. The embarrassing neighbor everyone whispers should hire a lawn service, but is too cheap to have his broken down car towed out of the driveway.
I have to say I am not this kind of neighbor, because no one really knows there is in fact a house down the long country road beyond our black mailbox. Noone knows or cares about my neglected lawncare habits. I forbade my husband to plant flowers and pull the weeds around that mailbox last year, because I would rather remain uninviting from the road. I'd rather do the inviting myself than have a spiffy mailbox do so for me. In the two years we've lived here, only a few uninvited guests have mosied down our gravel path. The first were two very sweaty and beautiful Jehovah Witness girls looking for converts and putting Watchtower in people's hands. I was busy getting my four children all spruced up for a wedding, and I ran around with tights in one hand for my girl and rifling through boxes for dress shoes to fit three growing boys with the other when they rang the doorbell. The young women looked incredibly tired, and I asked if they didn't mind being somewhat unattended while I scrubbed faces, they could rest on my couch and have a cup of cold water. They expressed gratitude and accepted my offer. The ladies and I talked about one another's faith while I wrestled my daughter into the white sheaths of hose and buckled patent leather mary janes. I have a solid base of belief, and I never mind an interesting yet opposing theological discussion. As I simultaneously shuffled my children off to the van and the ladies to the door, I invited the girls to come chat again. However, I couldn't promise them it would ever be any less hectic. I've never seen them again. Maybe the girls made a secret JW mark on the door post which says, "We already tried. Move on to the next house."
The most unwelcome visitor we've had bang on our door was Mr. Ritchie. A piece of his land meets ours in a far off corner acre. Our first unpleasant encounter with him came when trying to return a dog to him the first month we moved here. The day he parked outside my window, Peace answered the door before I got there, and Mr. Ritchie was quizzing my son in an unkind tone, "Go get your cat!" Peace obediently passed by me to obtain Patches when I asked with a slightly annoyed tone because the way he had spoken to my son, "What is this about?" Peace returned with Patches quickly, and Mr. Ritchie gruffly spoke, "That ain't my cat. I thought you was hiding my cat in your house. It's gone missing and has a terrible bladder surgery that makes it pee all over the house." He turned on heel, climbed into his truck and drove off. I thought of yelling a sarcastic, "Great to see you too! Come again when you have time for some iced tea." I also thought of some select words to shout regarding his cat, but I wisely kept this all to myself. Can anyone explain why I would WANT to hide a cat who urinates all over the inside my house? I'd have to be completely insane to look for ways to bother this man. From that day on, he sometimes shoots his gun when my children play too close to his land in the woods which eventually connect to his property.
I don't mind parting my bedroom curtains today. I've lead a search and recovery team to seek out my yard. I have a blister on my finger to prove I've pulled one too many weeds lately, and the grass is mowed for the time being. Mowing took a few days because my dear husband couldn't locate the key. He had to pick one up at Sears, a 45 minute haul away from home. The next day, the mower wouldn't start and needed a battery charge. The following day, I mowed till my hands vibrated, rump was sore of the seat, and sunburn consumed the tops of my thighs. The cool and gentle breeze smells like a mix of coming fall and freshly cut grass. I finally threw away the offensive dead brown wave petunia which hung on the front porch which I saw at first glance with my head rested on my pillow. Things look like they are coming together...
Our giant fur ball of a dog came in today from the field having been sprayed by a skunk again. His baths take over an hour. Maybe everything isn't quite together.
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