There is a woman who lives on our street. We don’t know her well as we only see her when our sprints to catch the morning school bus crisscross her morning walk. When we do have a minute to stop and chat, she tells us the same several stories. Something about vitamins or eye surgery or her dead tree.
I’ll admit I usually don’t have time to listen as I’m trying to keep my kids on the sidewalk, hold their roly-polys and not drop the mail key down the gutter at the same time.
But last week there was a lot of action at this neighbor’s house. Her driveway had been cracked and buckled since we moved in and she had hired a contractor to replace it. Since I have two boys, construction projects like this are golden opportunities. We show up ready to watch heavy machinery, ask questions to the workers, eat snacks and watch some more. My boys love big digs, jackhammers and piles of rebar. Oh the excitement!
While we watched, this neighbor came outside to check on the progress as well. And while waiting for the concrete truck to arrive we had time to chat. She told us about her own daughters, losing her husband 30 years ago, more details on her eye surgery, farm tractor stories from her youth and more. Then she asked about the boys and their schools and our own business and summer plans before the concrete truck arrived and the action started again.
Later in the week we were headed home when the boys saw her outside ‘watering’ her new driveway to make sure it didn’t dry too quickly. Never ones to pass up a source of water, they bee-lined right into the stream. So there they were, zigging and zagging through bursts of her hose while she sprayed them down. Each time the boys screamed in delight, she giggled. The mingled sounds of laughter from a 4 year old, 6 year old and an 80+? year old is magical.
As we were leaving, their soggy tennis shoes leaving wet footprints on the blacktop she yelled, “Come back later, I have to spray it down again tomorrow.”