Right around lunchtime I heard a quiet tapping on my front door and sighed. (door to door peddlers famously interrupt my Saturday afternoons) I opened the door to a woman about 25, slim, vivacious and smiling.

“Hi!” she said brightly, “I’m Lisa, and you’re going to think this is really weird, but can I take a picture of your tree?”

I looked puzzled, and she explained that she’d lived in my house as little girl, “and my Dad and I planted that tree on my eighth birthday. It only came up to my waist. Wow–look at it now!” She pointed to the giant spruce, maybe 40 feet tall, by the garage.

So of course I gave permission, and invited her inside to look around (cringing at the mess–there’s some kind of law that visitors will always show up when you haven’t done a decent cleaning in two weeks). “Wow, this house has REALLY changed. It looks so ‘now.’ I like it.”

Lisa’s family, it turns out, did the wonderful kitchen remodel (thank you, guys, for the Subzero and the Viking), built the entertainment wall and fireplace in my office, and did most of the landscaping, pretty much the reasons I bought the place. They were the second owners, “and we just loved this house and the neighborhood. It was the first time my parents had a place of their own and, every weekend, we were working on this house.”

She pointed to a patched spot in the living room ceiling, “where my brother and I launched the rocket. Our parents were sooooo mad at us, but we didn’t think it’d get that high.” She smoothed her hand across the top of the pony wall separating the living room from the gallery, “only this was our dining room, and every Thanksgiving my cat would sit up here, waiting for me to slip him a piece of turkey.”

As she spoke, she snapped away with her camera phone (for the record, with a T-Mobile Android MyTouch phone which looked kinda cool). “I told Mom and Dad I’d send them pictures,” she said, as we walked back outside, “They won’t believe how the plants have grown.”

I blushed; as I’ve mentioned, ad nauseum, I am NOT into yardwork and it shows. She didn’t seem to notice; she cooed and snapped away.

We shared stories of bountiful blueberry bushes and clouds of cherry blossoms. The mysterious railroad ties in the sideyard used to surround her very first vegetable garden. “I told my Dad I wanted to be a farmer and he said, ‘good, start weeding the front yard.’ I was so angry I was crying but when I finished he hugged me. He said, ‘go look in the back,’ and there was this raised bed with dirt and seeds all ready.”

She looked at the ties, lying forlornly under the blueberry bushes, and sighed. “It seems such a long time ago. It was all so much bigger.” Then she thanked me, got in her car and drove away.



  1. jimsi7833 August 23, 2015 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Geat writing indeed. I really love the way Cynthia has with words. Thanks a bunch

  2. Rinee June 24, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

    Nice story (as usual)

  3. cynthia March 21, 2010 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Well, thanks, all!

  4. Robert C March 9, 2010 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I think this stuff happens to all of us but Cynthia is right in that some of us appreciate it and remember it and some dwell on other things. I recently lost my father and the experience has made me slow down and appreciate things that are happening day to day or even minute to minute.

    Great writing Cynthia! Your BLOG has become one of those little things I plan to enjoy more.

  5. Ed LaPlante March 9, 2010 at 10:59 am - Reply

    I too like to engage people around me, I look for interesting folks and places to explore. Donna and I were at the Tillmook blimp hanger (the one that burned down) years ago. The door was ajar and as we peered past the no trespassing signs we saw an old passenger train car being refurbished. I started to walk in with Donna protesting due to the ominous signs. My standard reply was “what, are they going to give us a ticket?”. A man popped out asking what we were doing and then proceeded to give us a complete tour of the train car.

    I totally agree with you that there are points of interest everywhere and it does not take much more than an open mind to find them.

  6. gary March 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    I always make The Rounds to my old houses. Some haven’t changed. Some have. At the house in Middletown, NJ the live Christmas trees we planted back in ’65 tower over the house. I wonder if the UV paint I splashed on the walls down in the basement still glow?

  7. Linda Steider March 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Thanks for posting this Cynthia. My sister & I drive by the house where we grew up each time I visit my sister & we keep talking about knocking on the door to ask if we can see the inside. Maybe we will the next time!

  8. cynthia March 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Well, I dunno, Tony. Weird stuff has been happening to me since I was a kid, probably (as I’ve said before) because I tend to hang out in weird places with a vacant look on my face. 😉 I don’t go looking for stuff like some stranger knocking on my door on a Saturday afternoon, the way I do for other “experiences,” but I love that it happens.

    To your point, I think it’s more the latter–I think this kind of stuff happens to everybody, but we rarely pay attention to it. And I’ll admit you’ve got to be at least a little odd to stop, ask and document some weird small thing. if I’d followed my rational brain and not opened the door, or not struck up conversations with homeless guys, or never asked an old lady in a nursing home about her sweatshirt, etc.., I’d never see this stuff.

    P.S. Don’t forget that I live in glassland (Portland), which is, admittedly, the home of weird. That has something to do with it. 😉

  9. Tony Smith March 6, 2010 at 7:29 pm - Reply


    Please explain to me how you have such wonderful experiences… or do we all have wonderful experiences but aren’t aware of them?

    Thanks for sharing.

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