Last Friday on the way home from work I noticed that someone, who was not the neighbor, was mowing the neighbor’s front lawn. It is a rather large yard and he was on a riding tractor. A little after I got home we left to go out to dinner and that same man was now raking up the grass clippings into piles throughout the yard.
Himself and I looked at each other and said “mulch!” at the same time. Grass clipping make a great weed-block in our vegetable garden, but we can somehow never get enough.
When we got home I put Jack on his leash and took a walk down to that house to see if they needed help disposing of all those piles of clippings. Jody was outside with her three dogs looking like she was at her whit’s end. I asked her what she was going to do with all that grass. She looked at me like I was nuts. When I told her I would rake and remove them she seemed to breathe a sigh of great relief.
She went on to tell me about her week, her month, her year. The man that had mowed the lawn for her was her eighty-seven year old father-in-law. He had come to “help” her while her husband was working at a job down in Florida. Instead of setting the mower deck a little higher, he cut the lawn very short and then proceeded to rake everything up and leave it for her.
She had no idea when she was going to be able to do anything about it since her mother was just released from the hospital after having a bad reaction to a procedure to treat her lung cancer. Jody’s mom needed her help and lives a two hour drive away.
All of Jody’s children are away at school and couldn’t do anything around the house or for their grandmother. Oldest daughter is starting her second year of med school and the son is about to get his undergraduate degree and then immediately start law school.
The youngest child, a daughter, is also away at school. Even if she was at home she wouldn’t be much use with outdoor chores as she is still recovering from an accident she had when she was studying in Italy. Apparently, one very hot night, said daughter was sleep-walking and went to open a window to cool down the apartment. Not only did she open the window, she walked out of it and fell three stories!
She also told me how they need to get a new well dug, that snakes were living in their pond and that a dog walker came during the week to make sure her pooches were attended to.
Jack started getting restless so I assured Jody that I would take care of the grass clippings the next day and then said my good-byes. As we walked back home I smiled to myself and thought “I’ve become my mother!”
We used to joke that mom could get someone’s life story in five minutes. Actually, that might be an overstatement, she didn’t always need that much time. On her way to an oncologist appointment she and my dad stepped onto the elevator at the second floor. By the ninth floor she knew much about one of the elevator’s other occupants as he confided details of his life to her.
I guess I’m more like mom than I knew!