Mack Williams column: Lonely lady’s year-round ‘friends’
Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 30, 2022
By Mack Williams
There is a senior lady who lives by herself not far from me. She never seems to have visitors, as the only vehicle I ever see there is the mail truck at her rural box.
I sometimes see people sitting in lawn furniture in the lawn adjacent hers; but none recline in her yard, and neither she, nor anyone else sits on her porch.
This differs from the porch of my youth, as some of my best remembered statements of my father, Bernard Williams, took place on our granite and slate-slabbed front porch on Old Concord Road. One of those slate slabs was given to me some years ago by later owners, the late Charlie Broome and his wife, Pam. They re-did the porch, but kept some of the original pieces. In a time long ago, and upon that slab, Bernard Williams, his wife Lorraine, their sons, Joe and Mack once sat, walked and talked.
Back to the present from a daydream of the past. For the most part, this lady down the street has a shut-in relationship with the world. “Shut in” is the old church-bulletin terminology. I guess the modern term is self-quarantined, but hers seems to be more of a sociological, advanced-age phenomenon than one of physical health problems or immunology.
I previously mentioned that the ancient lady never has visitors in her yard; but I didn’t tell the full story (of sorts). She is visited in her yard by “friends” during the interval between the last frost of spring and the first frost of winter. In those warmer months, they sit (are placed) in a variety of yard chairs, even on some former living room chairs, the whole seating arrangement proceeding from the front yard’s sunshine to the side yard’s partial shadow. If you haven’t guessed it, her “dear friends” are potted and seated plants! But I have yet to see one of them reared back in a recliner; for as our Granite Quarry sixth-grade teacher Mrs. Roselyn Misenheimer told us, in order to grow straight, we must sit upright, with good posture. When I called Mrs. Misenheimer at Trinity Oaks recently, she told me she’s now 92, and I told her I’m 71 (gosh, the crush of our sixth-grade boys’ hearts was a generation removed from us!).
That outside seating arrangement section of the preceding paragraph can be related to the proper sunlight tag attached to potted plants at Lowe’s.
The British Royal Horticultural Society, having been around for some time, suggested that when plant owners talk to their plants, the plants respond by growing well!
I can just imagine that inside her house, as the sun’s rays subtly change their angles during late fall to winter to pre-spring, the lady mumbles something lovingly to her sun-loving plants as she rotates them in the micro-geographical climes of certain windowsills. During her plants’ inside time, she keeps her other fully dormant friends in shadow, where the sun cannot reach. But I bet she talks to them as well, and in the same manner as is advised to speak with a loved one in a coma.
Her plants seem well kempt, their macro leaves fanning out in luxurious green, some even approaching the verdant green of that isle where snakes were driven out with saintly effort.
Judging from what sits in her front yard now, the lady’s conversation has been answered, as her once live-in guests are now lined up outside in verdant splendor.
But I wonder just what other benefits, besides just being friends of a sort, she gets from them?
I couldn’t swear to it, but on occasion, I have imagined that the results of this senior lady’s annual medical check-ups are regularly declared to be: Perfect!