Thursday, May 9, 2013


My kitchen window, the one I gaze out of while doing the dishes, frames our neighbor's home. They have lived there for over fifteen years and the acres surrounding the house wear the marks of charming, elegant maturity. The house is hidden behind full flowering trees. Little plantings of flowers are scattered across the landscape and vines covered in pink blooms trail over the fence.

The three children are grown and gone and the only companions the elderly couple have are the the two border collies and the bashful llama. I met the lady shortly after we moved in. She was out walking, as was I, and I invited her in for a peek at our new home. She had her cane in one hand. I took the other in mine and we slowly walked the length of our driveway. We visited for a little while, then I walked her back home. At her gate she kissed me and said she loved me.

We didn't see much of them after that. The border collies, one quite elderly - the other still young and energetic enough to run along the fence line whenever she saw their truck turn the corner, discouraged visitors. Often I would catch glimpses of the little metro bus waiting in the driveway to take her to the senior center for exercise classes or of him returning from a trip into town. Occasionally our paths would cross, and we would stop for a little chat.

Several months ago I began to notice a change in the pattern. The two sons came and began clearing and cutting back the trees. We stopped to chat with them, my husband offering help. They said they were doing fine - would be glad when the job was over.

It was a couple of weeks later when we found out the father had passed away. I was so taken aback. None of the other neighbors had known. The family, evidently wanting to keep things private, hadn't said a word to anyone. As soon as we knew, we went to express our sympathy - talking over the fence, separated by the gate.

The property is all neat and tidy. The mother has gone to stay with her daughter. One of the sons comes regularly to feed the animals and check on things. I hardly ever see the collies. They must stay in the dog house - out of sight. I ache for their loneliness and confusion. The house, now clearly visible, looks so forlorn.

Joining my sweet friend Jennifer: