The Neighbors Next Door

Next door to my apartment building is a full house (not divided into apartments as many are in this town). In this house lives an elderly couple – and by elderly, I mean they have at least touched the 80 mark. In my over 5 years living here, I have never met them or spoken to them. My kitchen window, however, faces directly into their back yard and the back of their house, so I see things from time to time.

The only time I see Mrs. Elderly is when she’s walking up the back walk to their back door, which is the only door they use. And the only times I see her walking to her door, she is coming back from work at Walmart (the blue vest gives it away). Their back yard is quite long, and Mr. Elderly always backs his vehicle up until it is within a dozen steps to get to the back door. At first, I thought that he was just being courteous to Mrs. Elderly, as she walks with a cane, but I quickly learned that he keeps several tool boxes in the back of his SUV, and he wants quick access to them. You see, Mr. Elderly likes to putter.

You can see his work table set up.

Yes, Mr. Elderly is from that generation where, if something was broken, you fixed it. More recent generations now think that if something is broken, you throw it away and buy a new one. Mr. Elderly has a plastic fold-up work table, although I’ve don’t often seen him use it. But, more days than not, you will see Mr. Elderly outside tinkering with something.

Mr. and Mrs. Elderly have a pine tree in their back yard which is humungous! I kid you not! This tree is taller than their three-story house. It is home to birds and squirrels alike. Because of there being so many birds, Mr. and Mrs. Elderly have two wrought-iron multi-plant holders in the yard. Most of the hangers for plants are, instead, used to hold bird feeders of a various sort. In the mornings, there will be a lot of birds vying for, and sometimes fighting over, a feeding hole. Each plant holder gets one plant in a white pot (probably purchased at Walmart). The flowers are beautiful when they put them up, but they do nothing to care for them, and because of the multiple heat waves we’ve had this summer, they are both already dead.

Look closely and you can see the dead hanging planter center at the top.
Base of the pine tree. It’s obviously quite old!
Gives you an idea of how tall this tree is!

Mr. Elderly has a metal shed in the yard. I am assuming that is where he might store his gas-powered push mower and other such things. Yes, Mr. Elderly mows his own grass!

There is also a boat trailer parked in the back yard. There is no boat, but he often stores long lengths of wood or pipe on it. I’ve never seen him actually build anything with the wood, nor do I know how long it has been there. Quite possibly, he did a renovation in the house at some point and had extra lumber.

Like every building in this area, none have central air conditioning. Mr. and Mrs. Elderly have one installed in what I’m guessing is a dining room window. Upstairs, there is not a single unit installed. Unless there has been renovation of some kind to put a powder room on the first level, there is probably a bathroom only on the second floor. Bedrooms would also be on that floor. Because Mrs. Elderly uses a cane, I feel a bit bad at how many trips she might have to make up and down those steps every day.

I have never seen a car other than theirs parked in the back (there is no street parking on this section of Main Street because the streets are quite narrow). I have never seen anyone other than the couple go in and out of the door.

Meanwhile, for whatever reason or reasons Mr. Elderly parks his car practically up against his back door, there is a massive unused amount of space in the rest of his back yard, except for a small garden where they grow their own tomatoes. For people in apartments who don’t have outdoor space, I’m sure they’d agree with me about being envious of enjoying that space and the fact that it’s been left unused.

Wasted outdoor space.

I’ve never really had the time to watch people as they go about their normal lives. I’ve lived in homes in suburbs or in apartments, and even though I saw my neighbors, it was seeing them coming and going, not just ‘hanging out’ outside. Living in a rural area, on its Main Street no less, means I get to know about more of the goings on around me because we’re not spread out by much area. Mostly, I really enjoy watching the birds feeding at one of his many bird feeders, which he fills and keeps out 365 days a year. I doubt, without it being intentional on my part, I’ll ever meet this couple, but I can tell they are nice people – a little eccentric in my opinion – but that’s just a generational issue. I’m grateful for the time I get to watch out my kitchen window, which definitely perks up the chore of washing and rinsing dishes!

I wish Mr. and Mrs. Elderly many more happy years together in good health!