In our neighborhood, we have the usual mix of characters. We have the dog walkers, and we have the “I don’t care if he goes in your yard I am not cleaning it up.” dog people. We have the exercise club and those who don’t seem to be very mobile-they sit on their back porch and watch the longhorns grazing in the field behind their house. We have the night before trash bags and the “Isn’t there another trash day later in the week, so what if the trash bags sit out their a couple of extra day” bags. We have those who insist on using the yard waste bags even though it is not required, and we have those who seem to be replacing everything in their house except the kitchen sink every week–they always have 5+ bags for the trash guys to haul off.
And, then we have the acorn lady…. She is friendly. She is very committed to her task. The question is what truly is her task. Some days she will walk with a focus on completing her walk. While other days, I have seen her stopped along the sidewalk loading up her pockets with borrowed squirrel food. (If our yard is any indication, she seemed to have no shortage of acorns to “borrow” this past year–our yard is still overpopulated with LOTS of trees-in-waiting.) One recent morning, she was seen slowly meandering down the sidewalk with frequent sideways glances into the flower beds along the sidewalk. I was not close enough to see what drew her attention, but I know she was not moving quickly enough to pick up stray lizards wandering in the yard.
Our most popular theory is she has some form of dementia. One day we saw her 3 different times during the course of the day. Our dementia theory has her taking her daily walk until her dementia gives her a moment of clarity and she remembers where she lives. While our first encounter of the day may have her constantly looking downward for those little oak-child fascinations, our later encounter may find us greeted by a glowing smile. Rarely will you see a person with a more enthusiastic smile. She is not a good one to ask about her t-shirt or her appearance. However, if you want someone to look like they are really glad to see you, she is someone to place on your list.
I don’t know where my mind will go in my golden years. Wherever it goes, I hope the worst place it goes is to a happy place—-a place where smiles are easy and the things I collect are always abundantly available.