Things just don’t get any better than today. Not only did I manage to sleep in, but the coffee was already brewing by the time I stumbled downstairs. The kids were on yet another school vacation, but because they were out late last night terrorizing people on the street, they wouldn’t be bothering anyone for a while.
The news was full of the same old crap, but luckily I managed to avoid bursting a blood vessel for most of the morning. The phone wasn’t ringing off the hook, and the sister was finishing up with the animal feeding and cleaning rituals. Damn, it was quite a day!
A little after ten, I heard a slight commotion out on the street. I didn’t pay too much attention to it at first, but the sound of B-52s under the kitchen window is pretty hard to ignore after a couple of hours. I took a stroll outside.
Funny, but I didn’t remember owning a brush truck and a wood chipper that were parked in my driveway. I tried to get the attention of one of men positioning their equipment, but they couldn’t seem to hear me with those big earmuffs they wear. I waved my arms, silently screaming at these people, and all I got was the nod and smile treatment.
I came back inside to track down the sister or my eldest grandniece, Mrs. Kravitz. The sister was nowhere to be found, and Mrs. Kravitz had early classes. Well, I guessed things would be okay as long as these lumberjacks kept away from my trees. It looked like their target was the “thirty footer” next door. It split during a storm and half of it squished the other neighbor’s car. I found my own ear muffs and sat down at my computer.
My attempt at writing was short lived, as concentration is tough enough around here without a wood chipper rattling my teeth. The kids were up anyway, so I thought I’d continue the search for the sister, and entice her to go macadamia nut shopping. I’d have to let her loose in the Dollar Store, no doubt, but at least I’d have something to eat while she shopped for anything she may or may not need.
I stepped outside again, and through the haze of sawdust, saw four hazy figures planted in lawn chairs on the opposite side of the street. I brushed off my glasses thinking I was hallucinating, but there they sat. Four grown women lined up watching the felling of a tree.
This was what they had stooped to, I thought. The day had come when the excitement in these ladies lives amounted to….well, sawdust. It was a sad commentary on what I had to look forward to. There they were, the sister and three other neighbors, frantically waving for me to join them. “He’s almost to the top!” one yelled. “There’s another guy in that little teeny bucket!” another chimed in. And there was the sister, all grins, telling me to “Hurry up or you’ll miss it!” Four old bats, covered in wood chips, acting like they were at a rock concert.
Something stirred inside of me. Maybe it was pity, or just sadness, I wasn’t sure. I thought of other beautiful spring days, and the joy of anticipation they had brought me. I felt a tightness in my chest, wondering how I would possibly cope with what seemed to be just around the corner for me. What could I do? I’ll tell you what I did. I threw some damn popcorn in the micro and hot-footed it over there, just in time to see the top go! Wow! You should have seen that thing! What a day!!!