Friday, January 20, 2012

Best Things

One of those warm Saturday evenings a week or two ago:

Boz and I are having our walk. He sniffs his usual spots, as dogs do. We turn the corner and dusk has ditched us. Dark moseys down the sidewalk. A mom calls her kid to come in. End of day, end of day.

A gaggle of children still plays in a yard. One of them spots us when the street lights come on. "A customer!" she shouts. "Hi! Do you want to buy a free flower ring? Free flower rings for sale!"

"Just one more," calls a mom to whatever kids in the batch are hers, "then you're coming inside." She stands in the doorway, warm light spilling out from behind her onto the porch. I wave to her. She says "hi." She can't wave back because she's holding a baby in her arms.

Five or six children, of varying sizes but all smaller than I am, gather to meet me, discuss Boz and hawk their free flower rings. I ask to see the merchandise.

The children have a tiny table set on the lawn. (It might actually be a footstool.) On it are displayed in orderly fashion about twenty of the loveliest, most aromatic flowers. The kids have coiled the stems into rings.

"Take this one. And this--this is a good one. One for each hand."

"No, two for each hand."

"Do you think Boz wants one?"

"If the lady gets four then Boz gets four."

"Wait," I say, "how much?"

"They're free!" the children squeal. They are so pleased with themselves.

"Free?" I say. "But they're so beautiful." They truly are.

The kids could not be more thrilled that I'm thrilled. I lavish praise on their works and thank them profusely. Mom calls again. "That was the last one," she says, and calls "have a good evening" to me.

Boz and I walk on. I have a dog leash and a full bag of poo in one hand, and eight pretty flowers in the other. I can't believe my good fortune.


John Sandel said...

No truth but in things.

Nathalie said...

Petrea I love your style. This story is the most delightful thing I've read in a long while. Thank you :)

Speedway said...

Lovely picture, lovely story, great kids and a sack of poo. Three out of four ain't bad, since the fourth kinda brought you the others.

Nancy Letts said...

That was a simply lovely story, has to be the best thing I've read on the internet in a long time. Thanks for a wonderful start to my day.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

What a neat story...Better yet, a bag of poo in hand... My hats off to people who care not only for their fur babies but for others... I am still fighting that fight w/the neighbor who kicks his dog poo on my lawn and worse yet, he won't be considerate and let his dog poop, he drags him along as he is pooping...sad and cruel.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you for your generous comments. I don't say it every day but I just love getting comments! (Good or bad, but especially good.) Thank you all.

I notice I've made it look like all of these children came from one house and this poor mother had another in her arms, so I'll tweak it. I think she was calling to the one or two who were her own.

Welcome Nancy, nice to meet you!

Kalei, I try to remember this: Although it' sad for the dog, it's your neighbor who lives the life of negativity, he who is in misery.

Bellis said...

Hey, you're a really good writer! Not just a really good photographer and actress. I'm sure I can smell the gardenia in the photo. This delightful story reminds me of the lovely days when my children and their friends used to play outside till dusk called them in. They, too, would run little sidewalk stalls now and again. So in memory of those days, whenever I drive by a lemonade stall or such, I turn the car round and stop to buy something. It makes them so happy!

TheChieftess said...

Charming!!! I love your neighborhood children!!! Your portrayals are lovely!!!

Susan Campisi said...

"Free flower rings for sale!" Did this inspire the Oxymora post? Reminds me of when my young nephew insisted his friend was a vegetarian even though he eats meat.

I agree: delightful story, P.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, all. Aren't the kids sweet? John and I are blessed with the most wonderful neighbors.

I hadn't thought of this when I did the oxymoron post, Susan, but I should have.

Nancy Letts said...

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment, Petrea. So glad to have found yours, I check in here most every day.

TheChieftess said...

I forgot to mention...fabulous photo Petrea!!!

Katie said...

Thank you for the flower photo and a fabulous story! I can almost hear the excited squealing gaggle of kids and see the exasperated mom who's been listening to this all day. I'm bookmarking this post and whenever I need a boost of happy I'll reread it and imagine the kids saying "Free flower rings for sale!" and "selling" you all those beautiful rings. I admire their amazing generosity.

Petrea Burchard said...

This was just so special I wanted to share it, and I'm glad others feel the same way. Thank you.

Ms M said...

What a lovely story and photo! Excellent post. :-)

Dina said...

Aww. Your story reminds me of a song we sang at assembly in Chicago grade school: "Life has loveliness to sell ..."

I just saw the video of John drawing. Nice!