Saturday, September 15, 2007

Sunny, but cool. Aging and youth.

I remember when the red tractor was Dad’s. The new ones always go to him for some reason, leaving Mom with the older of the two lawnmowers we keep around. They have since bought a green one and the red one is relegated to the female mowing helper. I decided I would offer to help today since Mom’s feeling a bit off and the vibrations bother her knees. Plus, I love this weather. It’s in the lower 60s and beautifully sunny.

I bounced around on the red tractor in the extra lot on the right half of my parents 2.5 acre property. Some of my lines were squiggly - perhaps I wanted to hit that giant mushroom head on to hear the sound it made as it was sliced into pieces. Sometimes I was trying to make my way gracefully around the 5 trees on that side of the yard, though I always ended up ducking low and batting at branches that attempted to thwap me in the head. But I slowly made my way around circles with decreasing radii as the grass was clipped short in the yard.

Dad, meanwhile, raced around the lot filled with property. I was not to mow too close to his new garage so as not to mar the siding. I waved my hand at him and told him he could take care of all the little nooks created by the house, trees, fenced yard and garages. He did, meandering from his course a few times to catch spaces I missed in the ditch or close to our property line.

I was trying to help near the end, having finished with my section of yard, and glanced up to find that Dad was blocking my path. I frowned, then shook my head, turning my mower around and rumbling back toward the shed while the hood clanged gently against the body of the tractor when I’d hit a particularly impressive bump. I glanced over my shoulder to find Dad carefully mowing around a baby pine tree he and Little One put in the ground. Brother and I each planted one - they came free from school - near the front of the yard when we were young. I’m still impressed that they’ve grown so large over the years. But the tree Little One put in was small and Dad was protecting it from me as he carefully trimmed the grass around it.

I took a walk past those three trees this morning, offering a comment to my dog that she should be slow and gentle - as she was yesterday morning when we went - so as to not knock me down. It’s very cool here - we closed up the house to sleep last night, but I went without a sweatshirt this morning. The sunshine was bright and warm and the breeze was crisp and clean. It was lovely and quiet, even at 11:00.

We went to a cruise-in last night at Dad’s request. I didn’t feel well, nor did Mom, but we piled in the 1976 black pickup truck and drove to get dinner, then proceeded to park in a lot and sit. And sit. And sit some more.

“Danny doesn’t look good.” I offered of the man who visited yesterday afternoon. “He seems very slow.”

“He had a stroke.” Dad reminded me. “He can’t work anymore. Doesn’t remember much - I’m surprised he was able to find our house.”

I nodded and considered that it was sad that so many people have aged so dramatically while I’ve been in school. We drove home a few minutes later - Dad didn’t see anyone with whom he wanted to socialize. I sighed with gratitude at being allowed an escape from a restaurant parking lot for the evening. I dislike cruise-ins.

“How are you?” I asked a neighbor a couple of days ago after updating her on Mom’s upcoming treatments.

“Still alive.” She sighed then repeated her offer to come sit with Mom anytime. Neighbor's cancer - after many years - has returned and she doesn’t look well. I used to see her walking out to get her mail and paper. Now she drives the short distance out her drive and across the street. She once called for her cats after they’d been out all night. I don’t think there are any pets left now. The neighbor across the street died a month ago - I remember drinking lemonade on her back patio when I was little. The couple who lives next to the now-empty house is divorcing.

“I need my knee replaced, but now I’m afraid.” Mom’s friend offered on our way to lunch on Thursday. “My back has problems and I have bladder infections a couple times a year. Oh, and IBS - that’s awful too.” I shook my head in sympathy.

“How is my uncle?” I asked Aunt when we talked yesterday. I had been cleaning the bathroom and was panting a bit from scrubbing the bathtub.

“He says his back feels sick." Aunt says. "It depends on the day, but I think the surgery helped. He should be feeling better soon."

It’s a bit depressing.

Yet Little One’s third birthday party is tomorrow. Mom ordered a Dora cake just yesterday that we’ll pick up on the way. She called this morning to confirm her dessert and “three candles!” would arrive as scheduled. Mom handed the phone over to Dad after talking with her granddaughter for several minutes.

“She kept saying ‘I love you.’” Mom smiled. “Over and over and over.”

“I love you.” Dad said and I turned to look at him. “I love you too.” He said again. “I love you. I love you. I love you!” I could hear giggles emerge from the cell phone whose volume is always far too loud and smiled with my parents.

I’m worried about the coming week. I feel mildly guilty for asking Cousin to look in on my house, but I hadn’t expected to be gone this long. I’m concerned about Friend. I have a few things going on at work that I wish I could do.

But Jill scanned a document for me so I was able to get a paper uploaded to Good Journal that Often Rejects Me. I sent the pdf to Boss and Dr. Icing and after their approval, I can submit it. I have ideas for other work I can get done from here, though this break isn’t likely to help my career. That’s OK though - choices have consequences.

It’s a beautiful day today. I picked tomatoes from Mom’s garden after I finished mowing. I’m planning to nap soon. There’s a hummingbird that visits a flower right outside the front door sometimes. There are these lovely little flowers around the light post out front. It’s not all misery here. But I do think we have our share lately.

1 comment:

ppb said...

You just paint such achingly beautiful pictures.

Post a Comment