Dogs 2010

HOWDY NEIGHBOR
(3/29/10)


we
are not recluses
but stay mainly
to ourselves

the people
in our neighborhood
have sensed this
over the years
and give us
a comfortable
cushion
of asociality

but Spring
and the sun
seem to bring out
the garrulousness
in passersby

of course
being outside
exposed
as the yard
is tended
and the vehicles
are washed
certainly contributes
to the contact

the first
was some guy
in his thirties
saying that
he had lived
in our house
at one time
as a teenager
and wanted to know
if we had made
any changes
inside

he admits
to being the one
who trashed a sink
that we had
to replace

next
the newly
single woman
from across
the street
comes home
with a lawnmower
and needs help
unloading it
as she tells me
why her girlfriend
recently
left her

too much
information

an older couple
drove by
then actually
backed up
to where I was
working
to ask
if I knew
what the utility workers
were doing
on our street

I did not

the young couple
next door
tell me
that they are thinking
of putting in
a horseshoe pit
just along the fence line
between our
backyards

my wife
will be
thrilled

finally
free of the chores
and away from
the house
on our daily
walk
I feel less
a target
as we talk only
amongst ourselves

three blocks
from home
an old woman
rushes out
of her front door
and tells us
to "come here"

we look
at each other
and I shrug
then jog slowly
up the path

"bring
the young lady
with you"

she tells me

I turn
to look
at my wife
and she sighs
as she follows me
to the front
porch

"please
come inside"

it's warm
in there
too warm
but we've been walking
rather quickly
and the old folks
are probably
cold

the husband
gets up
shakes my hand
and introduces
himself

the woman
introduces herself
and tells us

"we see you two
walking by
every day
holding hands
and say
'there goes
our young
couple'
but we
don't know
your names!"

I introduce us
and she repeats
our names
to make sure

"we just celebrated
our 63rd anniversary
and we hope
that you two
will be together
just as long"

the old man
mostly silent
says

"we still
hold hands
too"

we all
stand there
smiling
the two of us
sweating
by now

"well
that's all
you two
get back
on your
walk"

we said
that it was nice
to meet them
and left

within sight
of our house
my wife
did the math

"I would be
100
if we made it
that long"

she laughed
then frowned

"you would be
111"

I told her
that I'd also
be in Guiness

with darkness
dropping
we were finally
safe in our yard
for the first
time
all day