My Grass



A stroll in the park  was my  usual contact with nature during World War II when I grew up in an 8th floor New York City apartment. My job each evening was to pull down the blackout shades in the hope that German, Italian, or Japanese bombers wouldn’t find  us. My husband, Mike, spent the war years in a Washington apartment where the same nightly precautions were taken.

After I married, we  lived in the suburbs. Neither Mike nor I knew anything about houses or yards. Our property was not perfectly maintained.

Our son, Rob, played with Wayne, the boy next door, generally at our house. But one day, when Rob returned from an afternoon at Wayne’s, he told us that when he’d  accidentally brushed against their gleaming car in the garage, Wayne’s father had barked, “Don’t touch.”

Shortly afterwards, as Mike took a walk with daughter Ellen, our five-year old, he stopped to speak to Wayne’s Dad. They got to talking about dandelions or crabgrass or some other homeowner’s challenge.

Bored by this encounter, Ellen moved under a shade tree on the grassy sidewalk strip beside the road.

Without turning to look at Ellen, Wayne father announced, “You’re standing on my grass.”

Different strokes for different folks. What is your compulsion? As for me, I tend to knit while watching TV.


4 responses

  1. Amazing. So wonderfully written. Shades to hide any glimpse of light. We’re in this together. And over here, the grass is being flattened by the light feet of a small child stepping out of the sun.

    How I wish Wayne’s dad could have read this. I think he too would pause and find a new way of seeing that innocent child.

  2. Well, I was going to say something nasty about Wayne’s dad and his way of ‘being’ (or not being), but then I read your comment to Bruce about his older son, and I pulled my sharp tongue back in. But I think this poor man (and others like him – and there are many) who worry about inconsequential things like smudging a car, or a child flattening the grass, have a sad stunted life. Whoops, I guess that’s too sharp. But grass is meant to be run on, rolled around, admired close up, and best, with bare feet. That’s what I have to say. As far as my own compulsions? Hmm, I’ll let others say. I don’t call my need to write every day, and READ every empty moment, a compulsion, but, as you say, different strokes for different folks.

    • Yes, I too have your reading and writing needs. Right now I’m supposed to be doing final edits on my coming book in the midst of a coastal summer filled with grandkids and assorted guests. (Can’t find a table for edits since tables are used for eating.) One son-in-law calls us “chaos cottage.” While feeling superior to Wayne’s dad, I also realize others in my life might appreciate more discipline, organization, and rules.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: