“I’m getting younger all the time!” a man with a white beard said as he walked down the hill to pick up his grand-daughters.
“You are!” S. the gardener said. “My mother is 93, walks 10 blocks every day and goes to jazzercise class twice a week. And she’s dating an 83 year old guy, ten years younger than herself! I tell her, “Mom, stop robbing the cradle!”
Inga and her boyfriend Chris drive by wearing 50’s style sunglasses. Chris has started honking a horn at me, like the kind used by monsters on Sesame Street.
“My daughter has some questions she wants to ask you,” a skinny man wearing round black sunglasses said. She proceeded to fire off a volly of questions that would put most journalists to shame. “Do you knit at night?” “How long have you been knitting?” “Do you leave the knitting out after you’re done?” “What made you think of doing this?” She started walking away, then came running back and said, “These are for you!” and handed me a tiny posie of purple flowers that she had gathered from weeds. Her name is Claire. A mature, thoughtful 2nd grader. She and her dad got in a black truck and drove away together.
The cheery grandfather returns with grand-daughters Ari and Luna. He asks me to put up posters inviting the neighbors to be there when my knit line reaches Bellingham Bay. I was touched that he wanted to come–I don’t remember speaking with him before. It’s moving to know that my presence has impacted a stranger in that way. “Luna is going to be a world-reknown scientist when she grows up,” Grandpa announces. “No, I’m not. I’m going to be an artist, a singer, or an author,” she says. “Well, you can be more than one thing…I’m sure the knitter does more than just knit,” Grandpa says…I’m sure he is trying to convince her to pursue a practical vocation, like my mom who urged me to become a dental assistant or occupational therapist. I flash back to kindergarten where I dictated to the TA: “I want to be an artist…(big pause)….a swimmer, and take care of orphans.” Luna tells me she is trying to grow out her bangs. She is the “author” of a book called “Geometry, Geometry Everywhere.” She is wearing purple with day-glo socks and mary janes. Her sister, Ari, has a panda face appliqued on her pink jersey and a run in her stocking. She is sulking because grandpa always leaves the car at home, forcing them to walk up the hill. Grandpa tells Luna to say, “It was nice to watch you knit.” I tell her, “It was nice to learn about wangdoodles from you.”
That was yesterday. Today, the Urban Hiker stopped by on his trek across town. He pulled a ziplock bag out of his pack which was full of tiny pieces of notebook paper with handwriting on each one. He gave me a slip of paper and I read, “www.isheavenforreal.com” in wobbly blue ink. Said he would like me to visit the website. I was touched by the effort that had gone into writing and cutting out all those slips of paper. I don’t mind people trying to convert me, in fact, I find it refreshing. I wish it happened more often because it means that someone is trying to share something meaningful with me. I told him I already believe in heaven, but he is determined to make me a 7th Day Adventist. He said that he is a loner most of the time and enjoys the human contact that he finds at church. He used to attend a Lutheran church with a bunch of old, white people, and the 7th Day Adventist Church is a vibrant mix of Blacks, Hispanics, Caucasians, young and old.
M. sat with me waiting for a truck to deliver his new washer in 15 minutes…they had already come once, and gone to the wrong address. Meanwhile, his phone had turned itself off so they hadn’t been able to connect. He was frustrated but still able to laugh about it. He asked if I wanted to housesit for him and eat his garden vegetables while he’s in Alaska with his grandson.
“Enjoy the concrete music” E. said as he walked by with Buster. Jackhammers pounded in the background for most of the knit.
As he moved on over the hill, I called after him to confess that the large puddle in his basement was the fault of the soggy knit line stored there after the recent downpour. He said he would show me an alternative place to store it when he returned from his walk but I got tired of waiting for him, so I left for the day.