'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,


This is my neighbor down the street, Roberta:

[Roberta with roses]

I happened into conversation with her today. She showed me her backyard garden, with its extensive irises, among other meticulously cared-for growing things, gravel, mulch, walkways.

She gave me some bleeding hearts she wanted to thin out. They're bright pink, and I'm not sure I'll keep them going, if they take, where I stuck 'em; I like the way the flowers droop down, but that pink is not my favorite. I inherited a fair amount of bright pink at this place, and I don't so much dig that color being all over. Boy, I am likin' the orange of the poppies that cropped up this year in quite the cluster, in the glob of greenery over under the pines pretty much directly out the window in front of me.

Roberta may be an old-school dyke. At the neighborhood function years ago at which we met, she was pretty butched out, but for one detail: the rounded, lacey collar on her white shirt, neatly folded down over the top of her sweater. Still, it was the butchest lace you'd ever see. It's hard to see in this picture, but her hair is usually pretty close to the slicked-back 'do you see on old butches in pix from the '50s. She's slight of build but has a cool pickup that she must have to climb up into. It's a seriously cool pickup. I think her job at a local office supply store is working the stock room, all 85 pounds of her. She's not working summers now, but it sounded as if she hasn't retired completely.

She took off her glasses to pose for the picture, asking me where I wanted her, helping me situate the shot with the sun behind me. She seems to take pride in her appearance, and I feel like saying "and well she should," cuz she's really got it together with that, like with the yard.

She doesn't like viney, climbing plants, the way they grow all over. She put one in a while back and then took it out. Part of why she works so hard, even sweeping the wispy snow away before the deeper snow falls, is to keep moving, because the body wants to keep moving. "I'm 80, you know. Born in 1928." The only difference now is that she gets tired faster than she used to, and then she just stops and goes in; it'll still be there tomorrow.

When she was talking gardens with me, she did mention several times how the moisture and the temperatures have contributed to this year being a good one for flowers. But it was only once she said that the decision about what you plant where (and what you allow to grow where) is one of the few places we get to decide how it's going to be. Have dominion, if you will. I took that to heart more than I did the plants she gave me. The power of that point may spell the end for those bleeding hearts, or the relocation of them to the care of some friend who wants 'em.

Roberta is probably the most thorough tender to a yard I've encountered. I feel like she let me in on the secret that, for her, that's cuz it's the exertion of her will, her power.

She told me not to thank her for the flowers, that you shouldn't thank people for flowers. You should just take them. But she did let me bless her heart, and tell her I was glad I found her out front & stopped to talk to her today.

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