Too old

My hollyhock keeps dropping its blooms onto the deck

Our afternoon dog walks aren’t often boring. There’s always some form of entertainment to be had, most often for the neighbors who watch me do battle with two 40-pound dogs trying desperately to get at a squirrel perched just out of reach.

Today the show started when Pete decided to pop a squat in someone’s yard. Simple enough. Except that when scooping the offending material into the bag, I got some on my finger. AARRRGGGHHHHH! And to make the situation even more interesting, there were people in the yard observing us as I tried to run my finger through the grass to get rid of the ick. An audience. Great.

Then we came upon an elderly woman working in her yard. She was excited to see the dogs and immediately started chatting with me. Which is absolutely fine since everyone close to me knows that I have a fondness for little old people (LOPs as my husband has dubbed them). All was going well until I told her that she had a nice yard. Then the conversation took a turn for the worse.

I learned that she can’t mow it anymore because she’s “too old” and that she tried to keep it up after her husband died, but she just can’t. Then she said she can’t have dogs because she’s “too old.” She also told me that she’s probably not going to be able to keep the house much longer because she’s “too old.” Eighty-four. Sure, she’s probably not going to run a marathon at that age, but I reassured her that she looked great (she does…I’d have guessed her much younger).

“I’m healthy,” she said. “That’s not a problem. It’s my brain. I can’t remember anything.” Then she told me some stories about forgetting to balance the checkbook and leaving things around the house and not being able to find them. I do those same things and I tried to put a positive spin on it by telling her that when you have a lot going on, you can become forgetful. But this woman was not to be cheered.

We talked a bit longer and then it was time to go. Her parting shot: “Your dogs can pee on my lawn anytime they like. But after I’m dead, the new owners might not be as friendly.” I couldn’t think of a response to that one.