I want to find meaning in the mundane. Instead, I’ve spent the winter watching Netflix.
A thaw arrived this week. For a few days, my neighbors were tricked into believing that winter is ending. We are easily fooled. But sure enough 97 year old Shirley who lives two doors over, stood on her back deck and fired off golf balls toward the woods. I looked up from lunch and there she was, using her 7 iron as a walking stick, wandering down the hillside in search of her balls.
I sent my husband out to help her. She likes him better than me. He’s tall. She likes to lean on him. Shirley told him that she’d recently been in the hospital but she couldn’t remember why and that she didn’t realize she’d walked so far away from her back deck and was now wondering how she’d ever get back home. Thank goodness he showed up!
Shirley doesn’t watch Netflix. She practices Chinese brush painting. And she drinks Vodka. I wonder if Dillard and Oliver drink Vodka?
Doug, next door to Shirley, taps and collects tree sap near winter’s end. In time honored practice, he boils the sap down in his outdoor “sugar shack” to make his very own syrup. Doug invites his church “men’s group” to a Saturday morning breakfast of campfire pancakes and fresh syrup. My husband goes too. The pancakes aren’t very good.
There aren’t too many maple trees in our back woods so Doug taps a whole variety of trees. Boiling down sap to make syrup requires a lot of sap! He should host a “taste off.” Identify and compare the tree whose sap made which syrup. I have a friend whose neighbors plan a monthly wine tasting. Same thing.
Pancake Day is a full party day at Doug’s house. Late in the afternoon, his elderly parents arrived to share the fun. I wonder why they thought they could drive their Lincoln into the woods? The path back to the shack is narrow; wooded ravines fall off on both sides. The shack sits at the end of the path on its own small island pad. But there they went.
Half way back, the Lincoln took a nose dive off the path and now its front end dangles over the edge of the ravine, back tires anchored in the muddy path. Tow trucks came and went — a sheriff or two. My husband went over to “look things over.” (It’s a “man thing.”) He suggested calling the fire department but Doug is pretty embarrassed. How to explain that a Lincoln is stranded in his woods? I mean…who would try such a thing? Maybe they should consult Shirley. She’s been around the block a time or two. At least, she could give them all a shot of Vodka.
It’s lunch time again: Day #2. The car’s still there. I don’t know what became of the parents. Doug is still boiling tree sap. My life.