Scene: An older neighborhood in the Texas Panhandle
Time: Some where between mid-autumn and spring.
Characters: Mr. Bauer, the homeowner; your not-so-humble scribe; a cossetted, pampered, and otherwise very well cared-for oak tree.
Mr. Bauer pauses while clearing out the gutter by the sidewalk: Hi! Good afternoon for a walk.
Alma: Yes, sir, it is. How are things?
Mr. B: Can’t complain. Everyone’s healthy and the plumber’s bill was less than I figured.*
Alma: That’s always good.
Plinkita plinkity plink, bounce bounce bounce
Mr B: Yep. How’s your folks? They been out of town?
Plink bounce rollrollroooooolllllll
Alma: They’re fine. Mom’s had a little eye trouble but otherwise fine. Yes, they spent September on vacation.
Mr. B: And left you behind?
Alma: Someone has to work for a living.
Plink boink boink plink plink rolll. Sound of angry squirrel and cussin’ blue-jay.
Alma: Have a good evening. Don’t work too hard.
Mr. B: I won’t. I just wanted to get these out of the gutter in case it rains again this year.
As we were talking, acorns were raining down on our heads. Mr. B was wearing his old highway department hard hat, and I could feel the thumps on my hat. It was a good acorn year indeed.
*Plumbers stop in the neighborhood daily. The pipes are 40-60 years old, with orangeburg paper connecting the houses to the main sewer lines unless they have been updated. And some of the cast iron is also going.