One day, LaRhonda (and Ashley) stopped by to ask if she could come into our yard to trim vines that were growing through our shared fence. “I don’t mind at all,” she assured me. “I already do lawn work for lots of the neighbors around here, and this won’t take but a minute or two.”
I told her, yes, that would be ok, just this once. She thanked me on behalf of the fence. “That fence will be so much healthier with them vines gone. That lady who lived here before y’all, she was real mean. She yelled at me every time I come in her yard! One time, my brother was over putting a metal roof on my shed -” she paused to point to the shed that sits just over the fence, closest to our master bedroom – “and she called the cops on us! Granted, it was 2AM when he was doin’ it, but I figured she’d still be awake then on a Saturday!”
I feigned shock at our former homeowner’s perfectly reasonable reaction to hearing someone hammering metal outside her bedroom window in the middle of the night. “Well, I always appreciate this communication, LaRhonda, so please let me know if you’d ever like to do something with the fence (or your shed late at night) and we can talk it through,” I smiled.
I expected that she would return to take care of the vines a short time later, but she didn’t, and I went on with my day. Around 10:00 that evening, as I was closing the bathroom shades and getting ready for bed, I noticed a bluish beam of light bouncing around our back yard. I stood there for a moment, trying to register what I was seeing, until I realized it was LaRhonda.
LaRhonda, wearing a headlamp and wielding a chainsaw, a cigarette glowing between her lips.
I turned off the bathroom light so she wouldn’t notice me and stood in the window watching as she swung that chainsaw around, trimming vines. Vrooommm! Up in the air, left to right, standing on a ladder and dangling the chainsaw over either side of the fence – LaRhonda was a woman on a mission. As she worked, I flashed back to scenes from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and made a mental note to always, always be sugary sweet to LaRhonda, lest she be tempted to murder me with lawn tools. Within minutes, the vines were gone.
A few weeks later, I was in the back yard, trimming back those growing vines with a pair of clippers. “Want me to come on by and help you?” LaRhonda and Ashley offered, appearing from thin air.
“No, that’s ok,” I said. “I’ll get it this time around. But I could never do as wonderful a job as you did. And Ashley! Oh, look how cute Ashley is today! And LaRhonda, you look great. Love that shirt on you!”