Back to School Blueberries

Just for a second, I thought today was September first.  Like a ringing phone pulling you from a deep sleep, it’s a little frightening.  Yikes!  I’ve got to stop scaring myself first thing in the morning.  Tomorrow is that day.

The school buses will start rumbling around town again and I’m hoping Mrs. Miller will be back, driving the bus that goes by my house every day.  She’s an excellent driver.  I got tired of screaming out “SLOW DOWN” to (insert your favorite NASCAR driver’s name here) who motored up the hill earlier this summer for whatever children’s program ran from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.

I sure hope Mrs. Miller didn’t retire.

So back to school it is.  A week ago, I got a surprise visit from one of my neighbors.  I don’t think I’ve ever written about my neighbor John, who lives four houses down the street.  I can see his house right now as I’m sitting here in the kitchen.  A nicer young man there couldn’t be.  He was Daisy’s fitness coach.  Who is Daisy?  That would be a different neighbor’s dog, a Labradoodle.

John was homeschooled, so he and Daisy walked at various times of day, sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.  I’d see them happily loping down the hill and I’d holler “hello” out the window.  If I were outside, we might chat and John would tell me about the things he was studying.  He enjoyed hiking around the local woods, investigating ponds and vernal pools.  He would bring me up to date on Daisy’s fitness exploits, too.  The jolts and uneven motions of the day were calmed by the lively appearance of John and Daisy rambling off on their daily walk.

I knew he’d eventually grow up and go to college, but I had pushed it to the very back of my brain.

Last weekend, I was hauling or pushing something around the yard.  Noise might have been involved, I can’t be sure.  But I heard a voice calling to me and there was John with his kind smile and a big Ziploc bag of blueberries.  He told me he’d picked them on one of his hikes and then he told me he was leaving for college in Florida.  Not “this week” or “tomorrow” but “in a few minutes.”

What could I say?  I wished him well and I told him to write to me, but you know how it is when you’re a freshman in college.  I went in the house to put the blueberries in the freezer and I had to wipe more than a few tears from my eyes.  I’m going to miss him.  I’ll have to stop in and see his mother and find out how the transition went.

Daisy?  She’s got a new fitness coach named Cole.  He lives three houses down and is a freshman in high school.  I haven’t figured out what their routine is yet, but I’ll be looking for the two of them.

It’s back to school for everyone.

And the blueberries?  They ended up in not one, but two blueberry cakes this weekend.

BlueberriesJohn and Daisy have been a gift to me for over a year now.  Simple gifts are surely the best kind.

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