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.