As soon as my neighbor opens his front door and walks out to his truck, he'll see my surprise: Flowers. Gerbera daisies, to be exact. A dozen of them, with more to come, planted in the bed that divides our respective driveways.
Longer ago than I care to admit, Alex gave me money to buy -- something! anything! to fill that sunny space. It's a perfectly nice strip of dirt that would look perfectly nicer with some sort of color. Meanwhile, he doctored the soil, did some digging, plus installed a sprinkler system down the middle of the bed. (He's a former engineer and can do that sort of thing).
Since then, we've met periodically meet as we've gotten out of our cars. I've renewed my promise to plant; he says no rush. A few days ago, he offered me more money.
"No no," I said. "I haven't even started to spend what you already gave me."
Alex put his wallet back in his pocket. "When you need some, you let me know."
On this oh-so-beautiful spring day, happily remembering where I had put his money, I pulled it out and went to Home Depot. I walked around and around the garden area and decided on the daisies. I didn't buy too many; I know from being slightly familiar with myself all these years that buying many more would not be a good idea. They would A. Overwhelm me and B. End up dying in their plastic cocoons instead of thriving in dirt.
I smiled as lugged the plants from my car, felt almost giddy while planting them. I put the pots in the recycle bag in the garage, then went back out front. I am sitting on the porch now, awaiting and excited about Alex's reaction to my promise fulfilled.
True, those dozen red and yellow daisies I planted take up barely one-eighth of the strip of dirt between Alex's and my driveway. But I'm still pretty tickled. After all, we do what we can to bring color, to bring beauty, to bring flowers into our lives. Sometimes it happens all at once, but more often, I suspect, it happens as it did for me today: One leaf, one petal, one satisfying scoop of dirt at a time.
An Older Dad, Down for the Count
1 day ago