Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My life isn't made of traditional Americana moments. We don't barbecue. I don't know my neighbors. We don't camp or head to the lake on weekends. We don't frequent WalMart. We don't bake goods for the folks next door or even send over that extra loaf of bread we made. We don't make bread. We don't hang out on the porch or even walk to the mailbox. We don't tend to and take pride in our front yard.

My brother-in-law, Ethan, would be horrified if he saw our lawn. It's brown in spots, weedy on the sides, dandelion afflicted, and, although it's mostly green and looks healthy from a distance, our weed whacker thingamajig and the edges of our grass have been legally separated for, well, forever. Our priorities just lie elsewhere. (Where I'm not sure, but they've gotta be someplace. I suspect they have something to do with yoga, technology, and chocolate.)

It stands to reason that with a less-loved lawn comes foliage interlopers. Folks call 'em weeds. And thanks to hate mail from our Home Owner's Association bitching about the flora non grata on the right side of our dwelling, after I got home from yoga and Romo got home from work, we found ourselves using twilight to yank squatters from their dirty homes and relegate 'em to the black bag of death. (Here's what I can't figure out: why don't we just change our thinking and make weeds socially acceptable and convince ourselves that they're beautiful, and, think Wow, we get greens for free, how neato? They are plants, after all.)

I looped a retractable leash around my wrist so that Soph could join us, and we three spent some quality time in the front yard. Being Americans n' all.

We was pullin' and pullin' and then we done heard the man next call out, 'Scuse me—

We looked up from our dirty little project, Yes?

He walked over to our driveway. I wanted to apologize, he said.


Those brown spots in your lawn,
he pointed, They're my fault.

Impossible. We're the ones who forget that spring and summer come after winter and neglect to turn on the sprinklers. What could this mister have to do with that?

Well, we got a note from the HOA about our brown lawn and I grabbed some fertilizer stuff after work to fix it and while I was spraying our yard I thought I'd be neighborly and take care of a couple brown spots on your lawn. And, well, it turns out that I grabbed the wrong stuff at the store. It wasn't fertilizer. It was weed killer.

Spectacular. A darn good story. Made my evening. We assured him that it was no big deal, seein' as we too were frequent recipients of nasty letters from the sweetly anonymous busy bodies regarding the state of our yard. (Here's what I think, with all this free time those neighbors seem to have, cruisin' our neighborhood, takin' notes, and mailing reprimands and threats, how 'bout instead of them doin' all that they instead pull the damn weeds themselves? Hell, I'll even pay the louses.)

He went his way. We kept pullin'.

After a spell, a little 'un with red hair toddled up the street aiming' to meet the fuzzy thing tied to my arm.

Well, hi, I said. Do you want to meet her?

He nodded.

This is Sophie. My puppy was all too eager to taste his little legs. What's your name?


Oh good grief. I suck at interpreting Childspeak. Jacob?


I looked around for his Daikinis. None to be found. Jacob, where are your mommy and daddy? Where do you live?

He gestured down the street, Down dare. Dat house and den dat house and dat one.

Well why don't we walk down there and make sure that they know where you are?

But I don't want to go home.

Let's just walk down that way. Sophie can come with us. And we'll make sure that everything is okay. I don't want them to miss you and wonder where you are.

Because, c'mon, the kid couldn't be more than three-years-old. I have an escape artist for a nephew and I think his mama might appreciate a well-meaning neighbor returning her young.

Sho 'nuff Yaycub had executed his very first escape from Grandma's backyard. He wasn't too thrilled that I returned him home, but hey, kiddo, it's a hard knock life, and it's about time you get yerself an edjumacation 'bout the way things are. Sooner than later yer gonna need to get yerself a job n' such. Life's tough.

Tonight we was 'Mericuns. We spent some time time in the yard with our dog. We talked to some neighbors. We returned a kid to his family. We pulled some weeds and got nailed by some thistle stickers. I even finished my day with a Milky Way candy bar, hydrogenated oils and all.

God bless.

Oh, and because I told you that I was finally working on my version of Violet's birth I have been jinxed and am having troubles getting the details to line up right. So don't hold your breath . . .


Tricia said...

now all you need is a faded tattoo, and a personalized plate that reads: RVRLOVR. (the "river" is what the 'mericans 'round here call the Colorado River, which is named Lake Havasu, but it's really a river.....which is better anyway for spelling with missing vowels....)

L said...

Weeds in Nevada are the worst. They have those prickly sticker things that just hurt. I would support weeds being plants.

Jaime Stephens said...

That was a good story.. It's amazing what spending time in your yard can do for entertainment...

Jessica said...

I clicked over thinking this would be a post about Twilight. And now I'm totally disappointed because it's a post about how you're all patriotic and junk. Geez.

(Did you catch the sarcasm? I hope you caught the sarcasm...)

whitneyingram said...

What you describe in your first paragraph is exactly us. We barbecue all the time. Ethan and Jack go camping. I just took cookies over to my neighbor. We like to spend our summer evenings outside and Ethan is obsessed with the lawn.