The last two weeks in May start a fierce competition in the neighborhood. Best lawn. The individual competitors from each household begin to care for their grass and shrubs with more interest than a newborn deserves. Steve enters strong each year by assessing the needs of each plant around the perimeter of the house, takes an afternoon doing something with the lawn tools to ready them, and begins his assault. The grass is already a springy shade of green and the bushes and trees always look better with a little trimming. The new weeds don’t have a chance with Steve at the watch. I don’t mind a bit when he cleans up all of the old leaves and debris that have attached themselves to the bottom of the shrubs. The late afternoons are reserved for sitting and enjoying the handiwork. In between, the men sometimes take time to have friendly conversations with the other competitors and have long discussions of the products and equipment to use on the yard. Some of the men on our block are very competitive and there have been rumors of sabotage in the past. It’s fun for the wives to watch. How else could we have talked our spouses into doing yard work? The competition really heats up toward the 4th of July. I’ll keep you posted.
The one good deed the guys all help with is yard work for the oldest couple on the block. The guys take turns showing up on Saturday mornings to mow, trim, and weed the property so that Donald and Anna don’t need to do the maintenance. Anna plants flowers alongside the front path and serves the men lemonade. Donald and Anna moved in after he finally retired from the military. They had traveled and lived at bases all over the globe and he had fought for the country as a career soldier. Anna had lived on bases in the states when he was involved in more dangerous duty, and their children had been born here. Every holiday, a few station wagons full of their children and grandchildren came to visit and spend time with the proud grandparents. Anna is a great cook. Even my children like to visit her to see if they can get a free cookie or two. Donald always gets up early on the holidays and places his flag on the holder outside of the front door. It’s a nice reminder to all of us to remember our recent past and all of the sacrifices made for the wonderful suburban life we enjoy.