Published 8:51 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Fireflies flit about as heat lightning illuminates the early evening sky. Our day spent recapturing the long-neglected backyard has left our clothes damp and dirty and our bodies tired. But it is a good tired as we have accomplished much.
In the waning light we inspect our handiwork and dream of what gorgeous specimens we’ll plant in this corner or that. We imagine how lovely our backyard garden will be after a summer or two have come and gone.
Mike gets up to grill chops as I go in to heat up some veggies. I decidedly have the easier part of preparing this evening meal. Our simple supper tastes delicious and rejuvenates our weary bones a bit. Missy, the little mini dachshund that shares our home firmly believing she is human, begs for people food, and I give in although I know better.
“Maybe this little bit won’t upset her tummy. Don’t look at me like that, Mister! You know it’s hard to say no when those big brown eyes stare up at me,” I laughingly retort.
“I know honey. I just don’t want to clean up after her since that little job always seems to be mine,” answers Mike with a grin. Without a trace of guilt I sneak Missy another little bite when Mike isn’t looking. And so it goes with husband and wife, friend and friend, bantering back and forth as the evening wears on.
After dinner we enjoy a cold drink and sit outside a little longer. Instead of the owls and guinnies calling goodnight to each other and to us we hear a basketball bouncing against the pavement as the kids next door shoot hoops under the streetlamp’s golden glow. A few houses down one of the neighbors cranks his mower. It hums away as its headlights shine across the soon-to-be freshly moved lawn. Crickets chirp their night sounds, and Mike and I listen to the music of a summer evening in the city. Missy curls up in my lap and lets out a yawn while waiting for her nightly belly rub.
The temperature of the still, moist air drops to a more tolerable shade of hot as the kids next door tire of playing and let their screen door slam behind them. With his weekly chore complete our neighbor puts away his mower and also goes inside. Realizing that I don’t know their names I mention that we should make it a point to meet them. “Maybe a block party is in order. That would be fun, wouldn’t it?” I say to myself since Mike is lost in his own thoughts and doesn’t answer. He soon returns to planet earth without sharing where he has been.
Contentedly, Mike and I speak softly of nothing and everything. A slight breeze stirs my chimes into a song, as shadows lengthen with the fading light. Soon, we too say goodnight to the moon and close our door behind us.
Jan Penton Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.