Jake Ate My Grapes
A brick house with
sparkling white trim we bought close to White Rock Lake on Cayuga Street
and that was our next move. Many happy hours for our family were enjoyed
at this location. Friends constantly came in and out so that few lonely
days worried us. Whoever had owned our home added to the structure with
an extra bedroom and a quite large den. The house had lovely floors and
truly was a pleasure to clean because every thing shown afterwards.
After I met some of the
other folks on the block I realized their homes were tiny with only two
bedrooms. The houses were what was called Gold Star Homes and were
originally built for war veterans. The den of our place held a small
built in brick bar-b-q pit which added a bit of hominess I thought.
Hardwood floors were beautiful and were well kept.
Even though the
neighborhood was made up of separate small houses snuggled up close
together only one person in the neighborhood at first offered to get
acquainted. Rhonda was in school all day at Carroll, which was again
close to downtown. The bus picked her up each morning, early.
I was mentally planning
my day as I helped my girl get ready for school.
"Rhonda, you can only sit
in front of that closet for so long picking an outfit to wear! If you
donít find something soon, Iíll have to come select one for you." I was
trying to hurry her along that morning so she wouldnít miss the bus.
"This dress, and this
ribbon and I donít want to wear that big white ribbon. Sam said it
looked like it is part of my head." Rhonda stated her case for what she
would and would not wear.
"Oh Sam! What does he
know?" I laughed.
"Donít care, not wearing
that white ribbon." Rhonda was sure of what she wanted and didnít want.
As soon as that prissy
little girl was off and gone on the bus I bathed and dressed my second
child, Mark, and the two of us were off and on our way to the grocery
store. It was a short walk to the small little store. I especially
enjoyed the time out of the house. So did he.
On the way back home we
stopped by to visit the neighbor I liked best who had stepped out on her
porch once to introduce herself while I was walking by with Mark.
"Estelle? Are you busy?í
I knew she wasnít. The aging woman was already retired from her job as
manager over a dress factory and most any time now pretty much her own.
I suppose she was a bit lonely, too, after having been separated from a
large staff of people she supervised at the factory.
Her grown son was living
in Dallas but he worked all the time. Her husband loved his garden and
spent a good amount of time doing that.
The way a gardening space
was created I thought was pure genius. The hard dry packed gumbo soil
Jake took up and in its place added rich, loose, fertile soil. Instead
of a separate patch of garden for vegetables at intervals he sandwiched
vegetables in between flowers. All around the edge of the back yard was
a wide flower and vegetable bed. Actually only a small area in the
middle was for growing the lovely St. Augustine grass.
"Come in. Come in. Iíve
just finished a painting I wanted you to see." Estelle always seemed
pleasured to see me.
This mature lady was an
artist with quite a lot of talent. We could spend an hour discussing the
latest piece she was working through while Mark followed Jake around the
Estelle loved Corot and
used his style to do a lake scene. The light coming off the water in her
painting which depicted dusk was as lovely as Corotís and we talked
about how she had accomplished that.
The sky holes in the
trees are nice." I told her.
"Yes, I worked on those
quite a while to get them to look like the real thing. The light is
brightest right in the middle of the hole and dims as it gets closer to
the leaves. Her perfectionist ways were no different in her hobby than
they were in all aspects of her life. I very much admired her for that.
"Well, best get home for
now. Iím having company tonight and need to start with preparations."
"Again? Seems like you
just had someone over." Estelle was a bit of a bossy mother at times. I
enjoyed that about her since my own mother was miles away from me in
"Oh yeah. Well, you know.
Anything to keep the troops from becoming restless." I laughed as I said
"Seems to me you are
getting acquainted with quite a few people." She was smiling as she
commented on our continual house parties. So went the days in our
idyllic life and there not a hint made us believe that anything would
happen to make any changes in the future.
"Rhonda loves her little
dresses and Iím going to cut one of those out." I was looking out toward
the back yard where Mark was digging in the dirt along side Jake.
"Come on son," I beckoned
to my boy. "We have things to do at home."
"Iíll see you later," I
told Estelle and started off to go by the couple of houses to our place.
"By the way, do you have
any grapes? I wanted to paint grapes today but Jake ate mine." We both
laughed at that turn of events.
Estelle was from the
north and although she had managed to work in the soft southern world of
Dallas by making changes in her personality, every once in a while her
quick observations became apparent as she voiced a complaint in a very
plain Yankee way. This was just something else I enjoyed about the