Some dads watch football on Sundays, my dad swept the driveway and sidewalk outside our Bronx rowhouse. In the summer, it was a challenging job because in addition to the regular city soot and debris, my mother’s beloved mimosa tree, which due to its size should never have been planted there, insisted on shedding its feathery petals and tendrils anywhere it pleased.
In the fall, he exchanged his broom for a rake and raked the pesky feathery leaves of said mimosa tree in addition to the mighty oak trees across the street
Daddy was usually out there for hours at a time, doing a job that would have taken anyone else twenty minutes at most. Why? Nine times out of ten, one of us would look out the window and he’d be at the fence talking to someone. Look out twenty minutes later and he’d be out on the sidewalk talking to someone else.
A decade and a half passed, in which time I moved to California and back. Daddy lived to be 94, but fell victim to Parkinson’s Disease for the last decade of his life. Since I was responsible for his care, I was running back and forth to the house on Bruner Avenue daily. I cannot count the times I was stopped as I entered or left by someone who asked “How’s Doctor Fair feeling?” I had no idea who these well wishers were, but they knew Daddy. For this reason, we lovingly call Daddy the Mayor of Bruner Avenue.
What brings this to mind is my own love(?) affair with my driveway. Come fall and I am out weekly too – but for good reason. Living in a quarter-acre of forest makes raking akin to shoveling snow in the midst of a blizzard (been there – done that)
Since my property, with all its stone walls and fences does not lend itself to leaf-blowing, I haul the leaves up into the woods and construct cute little walls of leaves.
Daddy would be proud of me.
Or would he?…..
Sorry Daddy, the remaining quarter acre of The House of Mars has priority over the road So if you want me, I’ll be with my good buddies…
and we’ll be here….
or maybe here….
If we’re not there, we might be here…
Uh, oh don’t look now but the driveway needs a tune-up
Maybe someone will come by and talk to me.