I moved to my little house on 50 Rotenberry Lane over 16 years ago.
I spent the first few years apologizing to the neighbors for our bad manners.
My boys loved to play football in Mrs. Lela’s yard instead of ours.
I would “holler” at them to come back in our yard.
I would walk over and apologize and Mrs. Lela would tell me she loved to watch them play.
When my dog stayed at her house, I found out he had a food bowl at hers. I don’t blame him for staying.
She always wanted you to stay and visit.
We shared a few things in common.
My first husband Ward lost a wife in childbirth. He had two children when we married.
Mrs. Lela would talk of her husband Robert. He lost his wife and had 4 children to raise.
When she talked about painful things it was more than just wisdom, it was with understanding.
When I walked over after my brother Johnny died, she told me about her sister she lost unexpectedly in a car accident.
When you live 90 years, there isn’t much you have not seen.
I admired her grit. She would rub her knees and say she ruined them playing softball. She played in her 50’s with women 20 years younger than her.
She mowed her lawn and would use a pushmower until she was 86 years old.
And I adored her sense of humor.
A visit never left you empty handed.
Our yards bloom together because of what she has sent back home with me.
Old maids, 4 o’clock’s, lilies, etc., etc…
The Saturday before Thanksgiving I was planting bulbs.
I heard a familiar, “Hey…” coming from across the road.
I walked over and planted her a row of tulips around her birdbath and told her I would be back on Monday to plant some daffodils.
She bent down and pulled up a few weeds while I planted.
I remember thinking how nice it would be for her to look out from her porch and see the tulips this spring.
I didn’t go back on Monday and I can’t remember why.
Wednesday she fell and went to the hospital.
Thanksgiving was so sad to see her yard empty.
Normally cars and family are everywhere.
When we heard the news, my heart broke for myself and for her sweet family.
I will have to wait for my flowers in April.
She got hers in December.
My town, my street, and my heart won’t be the same without her.
I will be forever grateful for my address and my sweet neighbor that came with it.
Some people dream of Heaven with streets of gold, but I believe it is lined with little houses like hers.
A cake always ready.
A yard in full bloom.
And someone waiting and so happy to see you.
I hope to live my life to join in you Heaven one day Mrs. Lela, and I hope the Good Lord lets me be your neighbor again.
Love and prayers to the Rotenberry family,
Your neighbor Cheryl