The “For Sale” sign went up across the street. There is talk of divorce.
They are the husbands, wives, moms and dads, single folks, retirees. They come in all shapes and sizes. They have not been out there since the snow-blowing days of winter.
Clad in shorts and T’s, armed with hedge trimmers, weed whackers, leaf blowers and all sorts of noise- making machinery, they take to the yard from April to October.
And they talk. Some would call it gossip; they of course would not .
They are the new neighborhood grapevine. Years ago, the task might have been left to the stay at home moms, the ones who met over coffee, looked after the neighborhood children, or waited at the bus stop. Or maybe it was the grandparents on the front porch, the retirees guarding their backyard.
It also happened over the clothesline. The rope was stretched out over a series of hooks attached to telephone poles, swing sets, trees, etc. Baskets of wet linens, socks, shirts, etc. were fastened by wooden pins from a canvas bag that slid along the line, supported at intervals by wooden props.
It was a process that happened daily and took quite a while. Lively backyard conversations emerged; nothing was off limits. There were not many family secrets withheld.
And now, at least in my neighborhood, it is up to the landscapers. The car mechanic, the banking lady, the funeral director, the factory worker, the high school principal, the salesman and the engineer…they are all out there.
They keep us connected.
It’s an important job. They do it well.