She had it filled with picket fencing to go around her gardens. Iris' of purple and white in one garden. The Old Blush rose from her grand- momma's garden back in Texas graced another.
There also, were stored tools from bygone days, covered in soil and rust. All made of iron and attached to a wooden handle, these tools were used by people with a strong back and constitution. A few old crocks were there too, from the days when butter was home-made and stored in a spring-house on the clear, cool creek. Now they sit stacked and some cracked, caked with soil from their last use as flowers pots.
The one tool she would not neglect, though, was her push mower. She kept that running strong so every year she could keep her front lawn trimmed to 1 inch. Nobody wanted to compare their own lawn to hers! She would push that mower two or three times a week until she was 83 and could push no more. Yes, that was hard for her. Not because nobody could get it just right, which nobody could. It was hard because she had to relinquish control and thus her pride for how her lawn appeared.
The front lawn never got trimmed to 1 inch again. These days that mower sits in the corner of Ethel's old shed, covered in dust and spiders' webs, resting and waiting for the grip of pride to return.
Since her demise, the shed door grows older and grey, hosting mosses and vines, its hinges stiff and red with rust. The oak planks bend as they are coaxed away from the frame by weather and neglect. So many stories left untold await inside that shed. So many memories, keeping their secrets forever from us. Joy and pain, all collecting dust and cobwebs.
Ethel's grass would grow tall but for the love of friends and neighbors who still take the time to mow. Not as often and certainly not as short, but they mow. They do it because of their respect for Ethel.