Nearly a year ago I ran into an 80-year old lady who lives several blocks from our house. Her name was Julia but she goes by Lil because her mother was a Polish immigrant and could never properly pronounce Julia.
Remember how sweet little Lil talked my ear off for almost an hour telling me all about what the neighborhood was like? She shared photos. She even let me borrow the photo album to show Chris that evening.
(Original Post here.)
A few days later, I returned the photo album to Lil along with a thank you card. She wasn’t home when I dropped off the album so I just tucked it between her front doors and went on our way.
And for nearly an entire year, we’ve walked past her house at least 4 times a week. Yet, I’ve haven’t seen her again.
I had been wondering about her.
It was a long cold winter and I was hoping she was alright.
A couple of times when I had a few spare minutes, I considered knocking on her door but I always came up with a reason not to. . .
I kept telling myself everything was fine with Lil. . .Her house looked well maintained. There was some holiday decor during the Christmas season. . .
And then a few days ago, on our way back from the Hardware Store it happened. . .
I SAW LIL AGAIN!
I smiled when I turned the corner and saw her standing on her stoop. I picked up my pace, “Hey” I started to call our happily. . .
But wait. . .
What’s happening here?
Lil was on her steps gesturing wildly at two boys. They were probably 8 or 10 years old.
They were standing on the sidewalk below her.
They’re so young. . .Surely they weren’t bothering Lil? I hope they weren’t bothering Lil.
I started walking more briskly.
Whatever is going on, she is certainly commanding their attention. Maybe she’s telling them about the old neighborhood? Maybe they’re just sweetly listening to her stories? I’ll bet that’s it. Look at her go! Cane waving around. . .sometimes in a stabby fashion. . .Good ‘ol Lil. Mac’s gonna’ love this.
“Come one boys. Let’s say Hi to Lil. Mac, do you remember Lil? Teddy you’ll get to meet Lil!”
But after just about two more steps. . .I could HEAR Lil.
She sounded angry.
“Now the gawddamned rats are going to be all over the front walk! You two need to clean this shit up! It’s a damned mess! I’ll get you a damned broom. I’ll call your Mothers! Do you hear me! I don’t want this mess in front of my house, Damnit!”
Oh my. Sweet little Lil has a filthy mouth.
What did those kids do? I don’t see any mess.
As I approached I noticed one of the boys was holding a bag of snacks. . . those little chips that are shaped like french fries. They must have accidentally spilled some of them. . .I noticed a few on the ground.
“So maybe we’re not going to visit with Lil today,” I whispered to the boys. . .
I slunk past the scene without making eye contact with any of them.
And as I turned the next corner I could still hear Lil ranting, “You two wait right here. I’m going to get the damned broom and you’re going to clean this shit up!”
I chuckled a little.
Lil? She’s ALRIGHT.