pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

Being Neighborly

Tonight I came home to a long, narrow box sitting beside my door. Three cats braced it. "Wrong shape to be the Xango juice, and I've already gotten this month's shipment. Mom's box of books was in the mailbox, perfectly arriving on the last day the kids have to show up for the '04-'05 school year. I'm too broke to have ordered anything else. It isn't Christmas, nor my birthday, nor do I have a kookie secret admirer."

So, I got out of the car and took a look. Very light. Sent by UPS. No return company. Wait a minute! My name's not BRENDA... and the address was 1741, whereas I'm 1471... "Ah, ha! A dyslexic UPS driver!" Out came the newly arrived Plot Map for the county, and, sure enough, a neighbor down by the big bridge is the un-recipient. But nobody there is named Brenda, either... There's a Brenda with the right last name in Seymour. So, what's right? The name, or the address?

Both are long distance calls, but I decided the guy would have to be bright enough to know Seymour from the middle of nowhere, so I called the closest one. Wortha answered, eventually.

I announced my name.

"No," she responded.

There was a lot of noise and confusion in the background of what should have been a well middle aged couple's quiet household. Brenda must be one of the son's wives. I remember Rick married a Polynesian girl, and her name was NOTHING as common as Brenda.

I repeated my name, deciding she was saying "no" to someone else in the room with her.

"No," she repeated quite firmly.

"This is," I began for the third time, but she cut me off again.


"Wortha, listen. This is..."

"Oh, yes, I'm Wortha."

Happy hour? I didn't think they indulged. "Good. Do you know Brenda?"

"No, this is Wortha."

"I have a box for Brenda. It is several feet tall, and very light, ripple type cardboard, no decorations, from UPS, but it is your address."

"Why do you have it? They've been sending Brenda all my plants."

"This could be a plant; it's light enough."

"Is it one of my plants? Why would you have it?"

"Do you want me to open it to see?"

"No, my brother's here. I don't know why they keep sending Brenda my plants."

"Do you want to get the box, or would you prefer to have me call the company and make them straighten it out?" (Over the holiday, I'm just SURE that would happen, but I don't add that.)

"I can't come now. My brother is here. When I heard the phone, I said it wasn't for me, because my brother was already here." She gives a chuckle. "Of course, it could have been my other brother."

"I'm not your brother. I'm your neighbor. Do you want to leave the box here until you can get it?"

"Maybe I can leave the box there until tomorrow."

"That would be fine. It's just sitting on the porch. Should it come inside?"

"No, it's okay on the porch. Why do you have the box?"

"I don't know. It was just here when I got home from school."

"They (she names a well-known and well-respected catalog seed company.) keep sending my plants to Brenda."

"I'm not Brenda. If you come for the box, come here, not to Brenda's."

Long distance, I did not care to hear a third repeat. She only lives two miles away. "Maybe I should throw on some lounging clothes and just take it down." I think about asking if the yard is all blocked off, or if I can drive up the lane. Their house is twice as far back into the land as mine, and they are at the top of an even steeper hill, which I have carried things up before. At least this box is light. I beg off.

Soon, I hear a car in my driveway. It is Wortha, a red headed tike, and a blond woman. The little boy(?) gets out, but his mother grabs his arm so he stays near the car door. Wortha comes up and I pass her the box. The herd comes up to see what this interesting thing is. A kitten has followed the older ones under the porch, but can't find its way back. The yowling makes a conversation difficult.

"It's my roses."

I show her my rose bush, which has two plump buds on the regrown plant that evedently has a very active root system. Coqet is not into trees and bushes like OMYNO is, so all the Iris blooms and other things that survived the goofy weather are doing fine.

"My iris aren't doing so good. The cows like them."

She starts telling how the cows chew her roses off, too. I had not told her mine had been chewed off. It doesn't look like it any more to me, but I have a decided black thumb, so maybe the telltales are there, but I just haven't noticed.

As she starts for her car, her eye falls on Coqet. "Babe (a partbred Arab she got from me as a weanling) is so pregnant, she could foal any day. She's so big, I hope she can have it without trouble."

I reassure her that most foalings are uneventful.

"One day, when I was driving down the road, I saw a horse. It didn't look like it was tied up. It was out in the road. On the other side of the fence. It was a really old horse. It was S.'s old horse, but it was on the wrong side of the fence and it didn't have a rope. It was eating the ditch grass."

"Coqet prefers the yard grass. She doesn't like the road -- too busy, I guess." (Every half hour or so, if it isn't rush hour, a car comes by.)

When she reaches her car, the redhead is on the inside, and he's locked her out. While she's waiting for the mother to reach over and unlock it, she says, "I don't think I'll plant the rose bush tonight. I have company."

I tell her about having to call the sheriff out to open the door of my new car last summer when it automatically locked on me. She laughs, and offers me a grand child.
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