May 1, 2009
Our perfect spring is quickly melting into the sauna that is summer. It won''t be long before Chris and I will be forced to abandon our late-afternoon alfresco chats with the neighbors, cultivating friendships.
We''ve had a lot fun just talking into the evening and playing dominoes. Sitting on the front porch is an invitation for friends to drop by. (I hang out on the back porch when I am just too unpresentable to "receive.")
As soon as we come home from work, the dogs run to the front door. "Hurry, let''s go outside," they seem to say. "We must protect the neighborhood from people walking and jogging and from the evil cats." It''s all quite exciting for them, as well. But then, snapping at flies is high on their list of amusing things to do.
Mother Goose often honors us with a quick visit. Columbus'' most popular celeb never stays long. There are just too many demands on her time. And, I believe, her goose goes to bed early.
Our neighbor, Dennis Hudson, talks to us about peonies and Beethoven. His garden is beautiful, meticulously maintained. We can see some of his plantings and subtle lighting from our perch. Most people would have to go on vacation and pay to enjoy such a vista.
"Farmer" Greg helped Chris plant a few rows of vegetables against the fence that we share. We call it our "Victory Garden," and dearly hope that the sprouts of tomatoes and eggplant and string beans will win the battle over hungry bugs and the enthusiasm of our wild child, Charlotte. She is undaunted by the wire fence that borders this patch of plowed-up earth and tramples the new growth.
Greg seems to believe we will have produce to sell at the newly re-opened Farmers'' Market. His better half, Jyl, rolls her eyes at all this talk of bounty. I, too, think he is being a bit optimistic, and just hope for a few things to eat and share.
The time may come when we are afraid to eat anything we did not personally grow. Who knew we would develop a fear of pork, or spinach, or hamburgers?
As if we didn''t have enough to worry about with calories and carbs, good and bad fat. Now we have to fret over swine with flu, and bacteria in everything else.
I get the impression that the news reporters really do not know what to say. They spend a lot of time explaining the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic, as if they are trying to understand it themselves.
I''m not trying to understand it at all. So far, Mississippi has remained untouched by the latest import from Mexico. I have no plans to give up barbecue or bacon, no matter how panicked the national media becomes. Now, fast-food burgers, I can easily do without.
The days get warmer, telling me we may not have many more evening "socials" on the porch. Chris may be forced to drag me, kicking and screaming, into the air conditioning and isolation.
But, for now, if you drive by and see the candles flickering on my small table, I am probably sitting in the dark thinking about how lucky I am to live in a beautiful city where the neighbors plant seeds of every sort and the pigs are healthy.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina. E-mail reaches her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adele Elliott, a New Orleans native, moved to Columbus after Hurricane Katrina.