Mrs. Lela Rotenberry is our neighbor. She is 91 years young. She lives across the road from us and has welcomed us to the neighborhood “from day one” as we say around here.
Cakes and desserts have come across the street one way from her house to ours for close to 15 years now. I would love to say we have returned the hospitality, but that would be a lie. We only return the empty dishes while trying not to seem to eager for a refill.
We have sent Colby over at 8 years old to fix her cable, because he has always been our family’s tech support. In the past, I have apologized for the boys playing in her yard “all the while” she is telling me she enjoyed watching them play.
Jeff has went to help her when she found a snake in her garage. A few years ago, she would have shot it herself. It is funny to hear her “how I killed the snake” story. I try to walk over and carry flowers to her on special occasions. (No snake killing for me unless we have exercised all other options.)
Reagen, however, went for the interview. At 8 years old, she wanted to be a journalist. And at 44 apparently, I am following in my daughter’s footsteps.
I will let her take it from here:
Mrs. Lela never ceases to amaze me with how much spunk she has. Her sense of humor is as young as any of us and you can’t get much past her.
I love to sit on her back porch and hear stories about “buck dancing” and box lunch auctions. If it’s late, a train will go by and whistle and drown out the crickets chirping for a minute.
And if you’re really lucky, the mosquitoes won’t bite and you can hear about the time she was going to take the rescue squad training. I have the utmost respect for Mrs. Lela, so that will remain “off the record”.
I didn’t think she would even know about the podcast. I was trying to explain it to her and she informed me that she had already listened to it on a recent road trip to Branson, Missouri.
She has watched people stop and take pictures of the former Woodstock Garden Center. And, she has even given directions to a couple to the cemetery. They were impressed that she knew John “since he was a boy”. She was the mail lady for years and knows everybody.
I called to ask her to make a strawberry cake for the news reporter. She said she was sick. Later that evening, she still sent over the cake AND her coconut dessert. She is my hero. No excuses, there is no quit in her.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you how comical I thought it was to picture Mrs. Lela with a set of headphones on listening to John B. rant. I know it was wrong, but I asked her, “Did you learn any new cuss words?”
She was smart enough not to reply.