We turned into our driveway on Sunday after church, and we almost hit her. There she was with her wheelbarrow, our next-door neighbor Hazel, mulching our yard, just the skinny strip between her metal fence and our driveway. "Hazel!" I said brightly, "You're mulching our yard!" "Yes, well, it looked terrible," she scolded us. "You know," she admonished, "hardwood mulch is only $2.00 a bag at Home Depot."
This favor, or interference, or whatever you call it, is . . . well, I guess that's the problem, is that I am not sure what to think, and it's really so minor in the scheme of things that I believe I'll just pass over it completely. So, never mind. Nothing to see here, folks.
Anyhoozy, we had Hazel, who's about 74, and her daughter Rebecca for dinner tonight, along with my Dad, who comes every Tuesday night. We were talking about the fussy and fickle eating preferences of small children. Will had pronounced loudly, "I don't like rice!" And even "I don't like cold!" when presented with ice cream, his favorite food. Hazel, who can tell a great story and has many to tell, told about when she was about five and wouldn't eat her oatmeal for breakfast. Well, her mother re-presented that oatmeal, reheated just so over the stove, at every meal until even stubborn little Hazel broke down from hunger, at the 36th hour. The Depression explains this standoff at least as much as the iron will of the mother and daughter. Hazel still hates oatmeal, and is still very stubborn.
By the way, she has a great wine cellar and brought some sparkling wine for us, a little over the top for a Tuesday dinner with the family, but it was accepted eagerly. My dad and Hazel reminisced about Majorca in the fifties, traveling by ship, icebox tongs, and other generational esoterica, while the middle generation sipped and listened. On other occasions Hazel has provided us with much detailed lore about the neighborhood's characters, where property lines actually are, who owns which trees, the reason why our house smelled like dog pee for a couple of months (non-housebroken dachsund lived here for ten years), what the landscaping of our yard has been like in every era, how much our old kitchen cabinets from the 1930s were actually worth and why we should hang onto them, the best auctions for antiques, the best place to get a variety of cheap wine, you know, stuff like that. Mulching incident, what mulching incident?