• Annmarie Throckmorton, M.A.

Out With The Old & In With The New

Late one afternoon last week, I was unloading bags of mulch from my car, to fill in a raised flower bed that I had put in along the south side of my front yard years ago. I had planted the raised flower bed with a hedge of pink and purple weigela bushes in the far row, various iris beds in front, and a pink paper bark river birch tree at the corner. The birch tree is now a magnificent, three-story, living treasure; but the determined swath of dandelions and climbing milkweed plants that have taken hold elsewhere, not so much. I knew the task would put me in bed for the following day, but money is tight and I do not know anyone to hire. Also, my policy is to exercise myself whenever possible, because use it or lose it. So I took two aspirins and set about to work my way through the task.

I bought 18 bags of mulch (36 CF), and this was my second load. As I began to unload the bags of mulch and stage them along my raised flower bed, I noticed bevies of young women in off-the-shoulder ball gowns, each different and each prettier than the other in their own ways, being escorted by young men in suits and parents with proud smiles from an event at Ewing Manor up the street. I sat down on a bag of mulch to watch the promenade. The young women were very much aware of their new beauty, and the young men with them saw it too. Many of the young men strolled nonchalantly along with shoulders back square and their hands in their pockets. Taking a picture might have been intrusive, in lieu I offer images of daffodils from my yard which are pretty, but not as pretty as the girls were.

When I turned back to my task, I found that my sit-down had made me aware of how tired I was. How would I get this done? Just then one of the last young couples strolled by, and behind them were what appeared to be three older siblings, a man and two women who were not formally dressed. The man said, “Here, could I help you with that?” and before I could even nod he grabbed up a bag of mulch in strong, young arms and whisked it away. The women were stronger than they looked and easily took up more bags. Within a minute or so they had all twelve bags of my last load of mulch spaced out around my raised flower bed. Off they went, with smiles when I called after them, “Blessings”.

As I worked through dusk to night, and got all of the mulch spread out, I thought about how my neighborhood has turned from old to new. My neighbor on the south side had retired, remarried, and moved away; she rented her house to her husband’s children from a previous marriage. The old man who had lived behind her house, the old man who had lived on the other side of my house, and the old woman who had lived cattycorner to my house, all had passed away a year or so ago; and young people with families now rented or owned their properties.

Out with the old and in with the new, is nature’s way, I am surprised to find how little I mind. Now, if I can sell my house early next year, this will be the last time I have to spread out mulch in my life.

Caption: Daffodils Are Among The Many Spring Flowers In My Yard

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018

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