Charlie is a dutch shepherd rescued at seven months by my son. He likes to call her Charles. He understands her and knew the moment he saw her worried face in the Rescue Pen that she needed to come home with him. He has the strongest quiet vibe.
In working out her anxieties from five previous owners, Charlie ate some things of mine. A half-read book. A banister, the rungs from two stools. The siding from my shed. In horse world, this is called cribbing. She’s much much better now that she trusts our household. Except for the trees in my backyard, I’ve not mourned any of these losses.
Spring came. I watched my neighbors’ trees bud and leaf. My trees are, apparently, dead. At first I drove about the county looking for other trees who were late bloomers like mine. But now, I own the latest bloomers in the county and its time to realize my trees are dead. Time to borrow the chain saw from my ex and cut the lindens down.
I don’t have ten years to put into trees anymore.
This was my whine to a friend not too long ago. I feel some sort of clock ticking in me and some sort of drain draining. I don’t want to think of how old I’ll be should I replace these lindens with fast-growing cottonwoods with Charlie-proof bark. Ten years from now, any new trees I plant now will just be getting to the size of the ones we will be cutting down next week. (Or the week after).
(I procrastinate my pain.)
Measuring time like this makes me feel one touch old and one bit defeated. This was on my mind when I was sitting in my mother’s kitchen, probably eating chocolate cream pie with my daughter to help myself (and my mom) feel better. The phone rang. My mom smiled and whispered to us, “Listen to this. It’s Daisy.”
“Hi Daisy! How are you?” Mom turned and nodded at us. We put our spoons down and scooted closer to the phone.
“No, no. This is Mrs. O’Keefe. William’s wife. Is your granddaughter with you today?” Now, my mother had that worried frown.
Turned out Daisy was alone and her dryer wasn’t working. Mom offered to go over and help her get it running. Turned out Daisy wasn’t sure who she was talking to. “No Daisy, this is not Mrs. Santiago. This is Mrs. O’Keefe. Did your grandson get home from Washington yet?”
The pie was getting warm and the conversation showed no signs of closure so we returned to the business of eating pie (quietly) and I data-sorted through my mind trying to figure out who Daisy was. Not that I know every friend of my mother, but it sounded to me as though Daisy was a good friend so I should have been able to place her. The call ended and I still had no idea who Daisy was.
Daisy, turns out, is a chronic wrong number.
Some time ago, Mom forgets when, Daisy accidentally dialed my mom’s house phone. One thing led to another and my mom learned that Daisy was 95 and blind. Her grandkids live with her and Daisy takes amazingly good care of herself except for when her dryer is broke and then she wouldn’t mind someone coming over and lending a hand. Other than that, Daisy is fine. She mixes up Mrs. Santiago with Mrs. O’Keefe, but something tells me that Mrs. Santiago is just as warm and caring.
Daisy is closer to being twice my age and has plans to purchase a new dryer. I thought about this while I finished the chocolate cream pie. Drank a glass of ice water (in my mind, the clear water negates the badness of chocolate dessert) and asked Mom if next time Daisy accidentally dials her instead of Mrs. Santiago if she’d ask Daisy how she feels about planting trees in her back yard.
I bet she does — plant trees. And I bet she has done so — started out all over again, more than once. Mostly though, I like thinking that she’d plant them, if need be, next year at this time. Right when summer flips away from spring.