Owen, a neighborhood kid and genius with plants, rang my doorbell. Cracking the door just a bit and holding the dogs back with my legs, I smiled and said hi, waiting expectantly.
“Hi. Um, I don’t mean to be rude, but you have a lot of weeds around your house. I mean, you have the most of anyone in the neighborhood. Do you mind if I look through them for specimens?”
Embarrassed but kinda impressed that Owen was so forthright, I answered, “Sure, Owen. Take whatever you want. Regardless of how it looks, I’m not a fan of weeds.”
Owen trotted off happily toward his treasures, and I receded back into the house feeling a bit ashamed to be that house in the neighborhood.
After several more Owen trips and offers of help to clean out the weeds, my mom came up to stay with Story for a bit and helped pull out some of the ivy. Oh, the ivy. I’ve had a war with it for three years. I’ve tried and tried to kill it but never succeeded. I did feel like I was winning a few battles, however. This year I had lots of weeds in the ivy patch, which means I killed enough of it to allow in foreigners.
Mom really likes working outside. She decided then that we would have a family weekend to clean up the outside of my house. I was both mortified and thankful. The sisters were happy to help, as they are the most wonderful sisters in the whole wide world. It was set. This past weekend, what was arguably the most beautiful fall weekend we’ve had thus far, my womenfolk family drove for two and a half hours to come up here and pull weeds. Well, not just weeds. Let’s face it, the outside of my house is a low, low priority for me, so I had shrubs devouring walkways, dolls and dinosaurs halfway hidden in dirt, and at one point, Mom exclaimed, “I didn’t know you had a sidewalk here!” I wondered if my neighbors though I abandoned the place. Yes, there was much to do.
Everyone tackled their jobs with good humor — well, except Story; she was rather grumpy and slow as molasses at doing her job — and we had fun, if you can believe it. The sisters were on the side of the house using all sorts of cutting-down tools, including an electric hedge trimmer (to their delight), fighting through the bramble as though they were Knights of the Round Table. Mom took on the front and used Merlin magic to remove all the interlopers, roots and all. Story was the workhorse, going back and forth from the brush pile with everyone’s castoffs — when she wasn’t complaining. Even Owen came by to help. As for me, I raced forward to meet the ivy enemy on the battlefield, and folks, I won! There’s not a scrap left of ivy left.
I wish I could convey to you my sheer joy. It’s always fun when we’re all together, but there is something extra special about working together to accomplish a goal such as this. To see our achievement and hear our laughter makes me thankful for weeds.