Tuesday, August 12, 2008
“Don't ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.”
Last year Mater transformed a green patch of garden to a space that could hold some parked cars. It was quite necessary due to the ever-increasing difficulty of getting the car in and out of the yard, considering that the adjacent road nowadays hosts so many delirious and speedy drivers.
The driveway had previously been dangerously narrow, and as such all incoming cars were forced to reverse in from the road so that they might point the right way for a safe exit- highly troublesome on such a stretch.
I heard from Mater yesterday that a fellow in a truck had come by to pave the driveway with more slabs of stone; over the course of some months the stones had gradually sunk and settled and it was time to add another layer.
Alas, she said, he had not understood his job very well and had poured all the stones on top of the wooden fence, flattening it completely, obscuring it from sight.
I was outraged on Mater's behalf.
"What did you do?" I was very curious because I could hardly imagine Mater expressing her vexation.
"Oh," she brushed it away, "I didn't say anything. The fence was old anyway. It needed repairing."
I was stunned into silence for a long moment. When I found my voice I struggled to keep it in measured tones. I explained to my mother that the driver of the truck had no knowledge of the fence's quality- or lack thereof- nor of its advanced years, nor Mater's attitude toward it. Which is to say that the fence, for all its weathered faults, was of no concern to him in performing his task.
Mater is rather a laid-back and undemanding individual at the best of times; I can hardly deny that she knows how to satiate her need for personal justice but more often than not she happily lets go of things I would prefer to pummel into the ground. How we differ!
As for the fellow who toppled the fence, I cannot say for certain what thoughts struck his mind as he poured the material and observed the wood splintering under the weight of the sudden burden- perhaps he was mildly surprised- but I suggest he was most astonished to get away without so much as a curt or crusty word from Mater.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 5:20 PM