Friday, July 8, 2011

“Over the Fence”

Dixie trying to get Paul to throw her Frisbee

Dixie at 8 weeks
            Years ago, the boys next door would vault over the cyclone fence that we have on one side of our property to play with our dog, Dixie. They’d dash around the yard, trailing a toddling Paul behind them, waving an old blanket to entice Dixie into the chase. An athletic dog, Dixie would zoom in sharp spins around the boys, gather momentum, and make wild leaps through the air. As she grabbed the blanket, she’d twist in the wind, torqueing her body and sending the boys tumbling across the grass. Dixie loved her Frisbee. She learned how to throw it herself, sailing it prettily from one corner of the yard to the other. Occasionally, it would float over the fence and land in the yard next door. A good problem solver, Dixie never wasted time with futile barking at the Frisbee. Instead, she’d come straight to one of us; hit us with her paw until we did the “What Dixie? What do you want? Show us?” routine. She’d bound back out the door, taking us straight to the fence.
            The back part of our fence separates our yard from the elementary school in our neighborhood. Over the years, we’ve returned home to find basketballs, dodge balls, baseballs, and footballs all labeled with the proud school name. Sometimes, the teachers would send a couple of the kids to our house to pick up the balls. Most of the time, we’d get home from work and place the balls on the other side of the fence, tucked up by our gate so the students would find them waiting the next morning. In all the years we’ve lived here, we’ve only had trouble twice with students kicking down fence boards. Most of the time, the children respect this wooden boundary.
Hackberry Trees!
            On one side of our back yard, two Hackberry trees decided to take root on the neighboring property. For years a rental house, no one ever cut the trees down, and they’ve pushed against the wooden fence, causing it to have a permanent wave. One of these days, we’ll pull this fence down and zigzag a new fence around the trees. New neighbors purchased the house and filled their backyard with rose gardens and trellised nooks, and they want to help us build benches that wrap the trees. We’d take one; they’d take another.
Koi smooching with Sarah
            Now-a-days, we don’t have boys climbing over the side fence, and remodeling at the school shifted the playground to where balls no longer fly over the back fence. However, conversations do float across these borders. I chat with my neighbor about her new grandson (maybe someday he’ll scale the fence), her husband’s recovery from his stroke, or the latest adventures of Koi and her small dog, Sarah. My neighbor on the other side, a chef by profession, delights in sharing many of his favorite dishes. Occasionally, he’ll pass plates of food over the fence, which definitely beats the balls we used to get.     
Favorite place to chat over the fence!

Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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