Friday in Retirement Acres

Have I told y’all about the neighborhood my parents live in? Well, strap in because I’m about to.

For reasons that are reasons, after completing my Cap shield last week, we’re making a second one. Which we were working on Friday when the lawn/odd jobs man (he built a deck and a bathroom for the lady across the street. Friday he was raking leaves and cutting grass for the lady next door to her.)(this is relevant.) came down the driveway. Which is built on, idk, a 78 degree slope.

“Mr Bobby,” the man said. “You got that bear dog put away?” (He has clearly met Duke, my parents slobbery but easily baffled dog).

“He doesn’t like the heat,” Dad said. It was all of 76 degrees outside. Duke does not, in fact, like the heat. “What’s up?”

“I need a knife sharpener; have you got one?”

“Almost certainly, Mr Mario,” my dad answered. “Lemme look.”

Now, when we moved here, the whole neighborhood had families with kids roughly the same age as my brother and me, with the odd retired couple thrown in. Now it’s almost all retired couples. I reeeeeeaaaaalllllly want to throw some gates up, hire a nurse or ten, and make it a retirement community.

So Dad goes to sift through the garage for a knife sharpener while Mario gets a good look at our cut but not yet painted shield.

“What’s happening here?”

“We’re making a Captain America shield,” I offered.

“For Halloween?”

“Sure.” (Narrator: it was not for Halloween.)

“For you?” If anything, this question seems more skeptical than the first.

“Well, Yeah, I have the boots and the jacket and—“

At that moment, I see a black fuzzy shape dart across the top of the driveway. It’s Mr Glenn’s husky, Bruce. Bruce is being pursued by Mr Glenn, a recent widower, in Mr Glenn’s Suburban. The back door of the Suburban is hanging open.

“Is it 3?” Dad shouts from the clatter in the back of the garage.

“Yes, Mr Bobby. Need me to stop Mr Glenn for you?”

“Stop Mr Glenn from what?!” I asked. Mario turned a pitying look on me.

“Bruce likes to go for a run at 3,” he said, clearly under the impression I should really know this. “But the neighbor’s all been complaining that he’s gonna get hit, so every afternoon Mr Glenn turns him out, but he follows him around in the Suburban with the door open so when he gets tired he can just jump in.”

It’s worth noting that for a while after Mrs Glenn died, every night at 7 they ordered pizza because Bruce didn’t like dog food.

At this point, my mother appears from apparently nowhere.

“Hi, Mario, nobody told me we had company. Do you want some tea? Or a sandwich?”

“No thank you, Miss Kathy, I just interrupted Halloween decorating to borrow something from Mr Bobby.”

Mom looked to me for an explanation. Rather than go back through all that, I shrugged and said “there’s a hole in the bucket.” (Dear Liza, dear Liza. There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza a hole.)(Sesame Street. Look it up.)

“You just missed Bruce and Mr Glenn,” I offered, hoping there was something to make this story not an adventure from the retirement community.

“It is 3, isn’t it? Well, watch out for Mrs Martin’s ninja cat, because sometimes he likes to stalk Bruce. And also he chases the chipmunks if your brother’s dog isn’t here.”

“Miss Kathy,” Mario interjected. “Miss Gwen said to remind you that your appointment is at 10 on Monday.” Gwen is Dr Ward’s wife; he’s the dentist who lives across the street from us but next door to Mr Glenn.

“How would you have gotten the message otherwise?” I asked. “Their office is closed Fridays.”

“She asked me to mention it,” Mario said. “But she said if y’all weren’t here, they’d be out walking about 6.”

“Thank you,” Mom said. “I’ll write that down.”

“I can’t find the whetstone,” Dad announced, re-emerging from the depths of the garage. “I thought I knew where it was.”

“I’ll catch you next week,” Mario said. “When will you have that car back running?” He gestured to my dad’s show car, which is currently experiencing brake trouble. “My grandpa had one of those.”

“He did?” I asked. It’s an unusual car, frankly.

“Sure,” Mario said. “He was a bootlegger. Well, I better get back to mowing Miss Rebecca’s leaves. She takes her nap at 4, and if I’m not done she gets real mad. See y’all next week!”

I feel like this would make for a reality tv series, but it would seem too bizarre.




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