'There ain't much to rake anyway in the fall
- The Replacements, 'Here Comes a Regular'.
As some of you know, Helen Gurkelbee lives down the street from us. She's a lovely woman -- widowed. A bit of a sad story. Anyway, I help her out with some odd jobs around her house from time to time. I am not, as Mr. Rutherford -- who lives even further down the street from us -- likes to say, 'banging her like an old screen door.' It's not like that at all. We're friends, Helen and I.
So yesterday we were doing some raking in her backyard (Mr. Rutherford, if you're reading this, please don't go there!). I was actually finishing up while she went inside to get the lemonade, which had been chilling since noon. I was kind of wrapped up in what I was doing, and I hadn't even noticed her return. When I turned around, our gazes locked. It was one of those awkward moments that crop up from time to time. Finally, she said, "I love you, Dan Hendrickson
." I dropped my rake and then I said, "And I love you, Helen Gurkelbee
In exaggerated fashion, she spun around and fell back into my arms. I was already a little off-balance, so we crashed to the ground, with me absorbing the brunt of the impact. For a second or two, I was pretty sure I had dislocated my shoulder.
Then Helen started to laugh, and that made me laugh. We laid like that, akimbo in the cool, lush green grass, for what seemed like a long time beneath the radiant autumn sun. When we finally collected our wits, we adjourned to her deck for some cold lemonade. Which, as I stated previously, had been chilling since noon.