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Walt and Ruth (standard:other, 3967 words)
Author: Brett DAdded: May 22 2009Views/Reads: 1309/883Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Short read. A painful memory at times equates to a solemn tribute.
 



Ruth and Walt... A story of consequence 

As I type this, I can hear my heart pulse in my left ear. For some
reason, when thinking of these two cherished persons, (Walt and Ruth 
that is), my blood pressure elevates. Perhaps it's because of the way 
my heart swells with such wonderful feelings when thinking of the 
friendship I had developed with this elderly couple.  They must have 
been in their seventies when we started “hanging out”. I myself was 
just a young boy wanting to eat fresh peas right off the vine from 
their garden. They welcomed me in with smiles on their weather ravaged 
faces and offered me the kind of love similar to that of my own, blood 
grandparents. 

Or maybe, my racing heart hammers because I'm ashamed of the last
conversation I had with Walt which resulted in me failing him the day 
before he died. 

From the front porch of our house in Allentown, one could sit and stare
at the vast greenness of the hillside that stretched the panorama of a 
person's peripheral to peripheral. As a child, I would sit, stare in 
hours of fascination and wonder what the people, living up there in the 
spattering of visible houses, were doing or thinking. And really, my 
goodness, how far away they were! They were living in another world, 
very far out of reach from my own. I always suspected they lived a life 
free from the challenges faced by the poor and lowly of Allentown. 
Once, when I contemplated running away, that's where I wanted to go. I 
remember getting to the front of the yard and losing my nerve. Chuckie 
had been yelling and carrying on to anybody who would listen, declaring 
that I was running away. But when I turned back and started walking 
toward the Grey House, his vocal alarm of concern turned to taunting. I 
guess I figured that Allentown wasn't so bad. At least, it wasn't bad 
enough to risk finding out the world on the hillside wasn't as carefree 
as I imagined. That little fantasy was worth dreaming about for a 
little while longer. It's kind of like buying a Lottery ticket and not 
checking the number right away. That fantasy is also worth dreaming 
about for a little while. 

Instead of looking out into the hillside, a person could focus a bit
closer and look to the little house directly across the street. 
Standing in defeat to time, her deteriorated grey paint job and 
concrete steps that at one time had been painted pink, starkly 
contrasted the lush green grass, overgrown and jungle-like, which now 
surrounded her. The detached garage stood next to her on his own 
sagging legs, embarrassingly exposing his inner contents through a 
large front opening that was missing a door. A casual glimpse of the 
dirt floor covered in oil stains and the old stacks of browning 
newspaper which were neatly tied then piled against a wall with gaps 
and cracks, afforded one a plausible insight to the life he once 
experienced. 

But between these two points, still visible from the front porch, on
this side of the railroad tracks, one could also view a small, bright, 
yellow house with brown trim. Apple and pear trees divided the house 
from the fence line and small running gardens were planted as space 
would allow. The grass was neatly maintained. The weeds were 
meticulously removed from both the grass and garden areas. Two old 
sheds stood next to each other in the yard. Each had the signs of age 
and a little neglect but their unpainted husks added to the charm of 
this little house and her little yard. 

I became very familiar with every inch of their garden areas. I knew the
grass lines and the lawn's imperfections like the back of my hand. I 
became very intimate with all the areas between the wood fence and the 
outside perimeter of their house. I can still remember how nothing 
really changed. Every house that I have ever owned has always been my 
weekend project. My yard never looked exactly the same, year after 
year. Walt and Ruth's yard always looked the same. Tidy. Not busy. 
Obviously, free from the destructive nature of children. I never gave 
this cloaked observation much thought until after they were gone. The 
yard and house fell into such a state of blatant disrepair, it would 
have looked very much akin next to the old house I had mentioned 
earlier. 

As a boy, I delivered papers. I would fill my musty smelling canvas
delivery bag with papers after I rolled them up and secured them with a 


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