It has been brought to my attention that it is my turn to host the neighborhood picnic. Actually, I was gently informed that last year was our turn to host. This was a surprise to both Scott and me. We can only recall one picnic since we moved here 5 years ago, and nothing was spoken about a revolving event.
Nevertheless, in the effort to restore neighborhood unity and goodwill, I offered to host the picnic this summer. I spoke with several neighbors about possible dates and I have finally chosen a time when everybody should be home. I just needed to touch base with Sally, our immediate neighbor next door, to run dates by her.
A few days ago Robby and I were playing outside when Sally drove by. We waved, and she stopped her car to chat. After exchanging pleasantries, I immediately told her about my plan to host the neighborhood picnic. (Sally was quite vocal about her disappointment that Scott and I failed to live up to our responsibilities by foregoing a picnic last summer.) I thought that she would be pleased that I was fulfilling my obligation, instead she began to scowl.
Although I was surprised by her response, I am able to recall the conversation verbatim. "A picnic is a great idea. Yes, I think you are right and it might be your turn. You could, of course, have it here (my yard) but um, don't you think my yard is a tad more conducive to entertaining?"
I just stared, shocked at what I was hearing. She continued. "Of course, I understand that you want to be hostess. How about we have it in my yard, which is more suitable for company. You can, of course, provide all of the food and supplies. You can even put your name on the invitation as co-hostess."
I smiled, told her that Robby needed a bath, and quickly retreated inside. I was surprised that somebody would be so rude. The exchange has caused both Scott and I to analyze our yard.
We live on two acres in the woods. No, our yard is not immaculate. We have toys and a few overgrown weeds. We don't have a zen rock garden or a koi pond. I suppose that Sally's yard has been designed to entertain whereas ours is used for exploring and playing. In any case, I was insulted. I suppose a benefit of being insulted has been motivation to fix up our back yard.
I spent yesterday outside, weeding and trimming. I cut down ugly bushes and overhanging tree limbs. Actually, I think I went a little lopper happy. I cut the branches off of every bush and small plant. Finally, I gave up and proceeded to dig up every bush in our backyard. I reasoned that we have enough trees and that bushes simply aren't necessary!
One unexpected benefit of a prosthetic is the ease in trampling down branches and thorny bushes. As long as I remember to lead with my left leg (my prosthetic side) I never get cut! I also discovered that I can dislodge most root systems simply by repeatedly kicking the stump with my prosthetic. I can kick harder than most people because I don't have to worry about stubbing my toes. Landscaping with a prosthetic is a breeze!
I was on a roll pulling up bushes until I tried to move the dying rhododendron. I have hated this bush since we moved in. Half the leaves are dead, and it has failed to produce any flowers. Unfortunately, this bush was tall (at least 9 feet) and was quite established. I knew that I was going to need the shovel.
After about 20 minutes of digging, the overgrown eyesore was loosened. I knew that one more dig and the plant would be gone for good. I felt victorious as I pounded the shovel into the ground one last time. My victory at the imminent felling of an ugly eye sore quickly morphed into fright.
Apparently the previous owners of this house had a dog. To my horror I unearthed the remains of Fido, who was wearing a blue collar and had (at least some) tan fur. As soon as I processed what I dug up, I went running from the makeshift cemetery/ flower bed as quickly as I could, screeching like a little girl. I have come to the conclusion that home owners should be required to provide new occupants with a map of where various pet remains have been buried.
Scott had to move the rhododendron and has promised me that Fido will never again see the light of day. I have decided that I am never going to plant anything in that flower bed for fear of digging up another pet. If we ever do host the neighborhood picnic, I have decided to put the chairs for Sally's family near that flower bed. If she thinks our yard is unsuitable now, she would be distressed to know that she was eating in the midst of a pet cemetery!