Lucy and Ricky Ricardo would feel at home in this neighborhood. Not that we need any more entertainment. The homeowners covenants frown on junk cars, but there are no restrictions on people with loose screws.
Lucky for us. It keeps the Lee screwballs from feeling out-of-place.
Take, for instance, our neighbors Beauregard and Boo Byrd, whose names I have changed for my own safety.
We love these people. They’re dear and most entertaining to be around. Just seeing them out on a walk makes us smile. Size-wise, she doesn’t even reach his armpits. Beau is extra tall and lanky. Part Gumby, part Whooping Crane.
Boo is so petite that she couldn’t make 90 pounds if she were soaking wet and had an iron skillet hanging from each shoulder.
Yesterday, Beau was outside spreading pine straw. That means he had on his official yard uniform: a pair of running pants and a headband bandana around his forehead to hold his earphones in place so as not to miss a twang of his not-allowed-in-the-house country music. He was working on the azalea bed by the street when Dearly Beloved and the dog rounded the corner from their walk. At the same time, Henry, the retired, former NFL quarterback, was walking up his driveway to fetch his garbage can, so the three of them converged for an hour meeting on the sidewalk. The dog settled in for a nap.
Beau had not heard the story of Henry and the girl who came bearing fruit, so DB cajoled him into telling it for Beau. Dream Girl had become more exquisite, the fruit even more perfect since the last telling.
It is Beau Byrd who is the joke-teller of the neighborhood. He had already gone through his current repertoire– which consists of every joke he remembers. DB never recalls jokes long enough to tell them and with Beau well into reruns, Henry’s tale was a late entry hit.
Since Henry is a bachelor, Beau launched into a few questions of why Henry hadn’t asked Dream Girl out (perhaps the 35-year age difference) and how often does he go on dates these days.
Henry said that his dating days are becoming rarer, but that recently a mutual friend had arranged a blind date and that he’d really enjoyed the evening with the woman. He mentioned that he’d met her at an uptown restaurant near her work, so DB, who worked uptown for years, asked her name and where she worked.
Barbara Smith. She works at XYZ Corp.
DB shook his head to indicate that he didn’t know her, but Beau made a choking sound and his eyes went wide in astonishment. “Barbara Smith? Are you serious? She was your blind date?”
Henry asked, “You know her?”
“You went out with the Barbara Smith who works at XYZ?”
“Yes,” Henry answered. “Why? What do you know about her?”
“Henry went on a blind date with Barbara Smith,” Beau said to DB, then looked back at Henry. “SERIOUSLY?!”
Henry nodded. “Why do you say it like that? Do you know something about her?”
Beau grinned, a bit wickedly. “Barbara Smith is a legend uptown! Who hasn’t heard of Barbara Smith?!”
Henry looked at DB, who shook his head again. Both of them looked back at Beauregard.
“I’d be careful if I were you, “Beau warned, shaking his head slowly. “EVERYBODY knows Barbara Smith. She’s a Man Eater!”
Henry looked stricken. “So you really know her?” he asked again.
“NAH,” Beau replied, with a shrug. Shaking his head, he added, “Never heard of her.”
Ahhh. Perhaps the relationship can bear fruit if Henry can successfully navigate it past the nuts on the sidewalk.