April 05, 2010
Sunshine in Traintrack Village
Friday evening was so warm that my husband and I took a long walk in the dark. I wore jeans and a t-shirt, and my arms were bare. It felt like summer.
As we walked through Traintrack Village, we saw a couple of familiar figures moving along the sidewalk. It was Quiet Woman and her daughter, out walking their dog. I hadn’t seen them since Christmas time, so we stopped to chat. “We’re taking Philosophical Boy to visit colleges,” Quiet Woman said. It seems hard to believe that he’s that old already.
We’d gone another 100 yards when I heard a voice called, “Hey, don’t think you can come by without saying hello.” It was Retired Principal, an old friend of mine. He stepped off his front porch so I could give him a hug. He and his wife had just returned from Southern State of Palm Trees and Alligators, where they spend the month of March. My husband and I told them about our trip to the same state, and the four of us stood on the sidewalk comparing notes.
We chatted until another neighbor wandered by, and then my husband and I went over to the old elementary school to sit on the swings in the playground and talk. We could hear the tree frogs singing behind the school, and the night breeze against my bare arms didn’t even make me shiver.
I took the same walk the next day with Red-haired Sister and her family, as well as With-a-Why. In the daylight, we kept admiring the flowers that were starting to bloom. Little Biker Boy kept zooming around us impatiently on his bike. When we reached the bridge over the creek, we climbed down to look at the graffiti under the bridge and watch the muddy water rush past.
Some kids in the village had set up a cardtable and were selling lemonade, but they had run out of lemonade by the time our thirsty group approached. Since none of us were carrying any money with us, it was probably just as well.
In the Traintrack Village Cemetery, I showed my sister the place where Opera Singer and Hyper Generous Woman had been buried. We stood for a moment near the tombstone and then walked over to the place where I’d seen daffodils blooming the day before.
An old car pulled up to us, and an old woman stepped out. She had to be in her eighties at least, maybe nineties. She was dressed in a purple and blue blouse with pants that matched exactly, and purple clip-on earrings. “Do you know when the church service is?” she asked. “I thought it was a 4 pm, but no one is here.”
“I can find out,” I said to her. I turned to the cluster of family members. “Who’s got a cell phone?”
Once we had figured out the church times, the woman thanked us and said, “I guess I’ll go to the 9 am tomorrow morning.” She got back into her car, and we watched the vehicle creep away slowly.
On our way back to my house, we passed a man raking his lawn and some kids playing ball. We stopped to admire a front yard flower garden. Dandelion Niece loved the little sign that said, “Weeds are free. Please pick some.”
These first sunny days of spring in Snowstorm Region always get everyone out of their houses. The snowbanks and icy temperatures that isolate us in the winter are finally gone. Even on a short walk, I end up talking to neighbors, seeing people I haven’t seen all winter long. For an extrovert like me, it's the best part of spring.
That's Tie-dye Brother-in-law, under the bridge.
Posted by jo(e)