The sound of machinery vibrates through the my house like the roar of a tornado. I go to the window and see workmen cutting down the trees across the street. I’m nauseated at the sight because I know the story behind that empty lot.
It began many years ago when an older couple moved ‘to town’. They were moving from the country to a residential neighborhood because they could no longer care for the farm. The woman didn’t want houses close to her so her beloved husband bought three adjacent lots. He built a beautiful house on the lot in the middle.
Eventually, we moved across the street from the woman. Her husband had passed away. Every day she worked in her yard and the empty lots. She wore her work clothes and a sun hat and would sit at her picnic table for a break now and then, drinking her tea. Sometimes , she just sat and watched the leaves fall and listened to the birds sing. She insisted on keeping all three lots well manicured. She usually went to the grocery store on Thursday and to church on Sunday. Every time I went to my mailbox while she was working in the yard, she told me the story of how her beloved husband bought all three lots so she would have some property in town.
Years went by and eventually she would be driven to the store and church by a caregiver. She was no longer able to work in her yard. At first, the caregiver only came about 3 times a week and then it was every day. Then as I was leaving for work one morning, I noticed the night time caregiver leave and the day shift arrive. Sometimes when I was home, I would see her walking with her caregiver. She would always stop and tell the story of my girls and I to the caregiver. She remembered Kelsey and me sitting on the front porch waiting for Paige to get off of the school bus. She watched my girls grow up but only remembered the story about the front porch and school bus. Time went by and the caregivers no longer came. The house was empty and she had passed away. She was a woman of strong faith.
A young couple moved into her house to begin a new life and some neighbors purchased one of the extra lots. The lot closest to me sat empty for over a year. I was glad to see it empty because it held the memory of her sitting at her picnic table drinking her tea. As I sit here today, I see trees being cut down and branches being shredded into mulch. What’s to be done with that lot? She loved it so much. A new family will come and build new memories. Maybe, I will become the woman who sits under the shade of her tree and watches the children come home from the bus.
Stories of families who never met intertwine on that empty lot.
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