It was mighty hot today in Chicago. All of 86 degrees--unheard of in May. I remember snow in late May in the middle 90s.
Evidence of global warming aside, I opened my back door about an hour ago and found Joey and five of his friends sitting on my back steps eating popcorn and drinking Hawaiian Punch. "We'll clean it up," promised the boy in the Chavez t-shirt, whose name I've already forgotten.
I wanted to plant the tomatoes from Seeds of Hope Farm. They got here yesterday. So I planted while the guys threw a football around. Chavez T-shirt was especially helpful. "I saw tomatoes somewhere else and they had more room," he observed, while I was putting them in less than a foot apart.
"You're right, they need more space," I replied, and went three to a box, in a row. Hope that's good enough.
"Do you have roses?" he asked. I don't. "My mom likes roses."
"Did she plant some?"
"She wants to grow some but she doesn't have money for flowers."
"Which is your house?" I asked him.
He pointed down the alley. They're renting in the big house on the corner, I think.
"Do you want to help me plant some flowers when I get the tomatoes done?" He looked shy. "You can just throw the football around if you'd rather."
Then I realized I needed to water my newly planted tomatoes. "Wait," I said. "Can you get the hose?"
Chavez T-shirt was delighted to get the hose. "Like this?" he said, but his finger was making the water jet too strongly.
"Make it like rain," I said, "like this." I took the hose, turned it up toward the sky and put my finger on the nozzle gently. Instant rain.
He tried it. It was still a little strong, but OK. Then Joey and the other boys wanted to get wet. I ran for my back stairs and watched them spray each other, cracking up.
"Your moms are going to kill me," I told them. They chased each other around, laughing. Joey took his shirt off, probably not in time.
The youngest boy, in Joey's yard next door, watched all this solemnly until the very last minute. I was going to the spigot when Chavez T-shirt yelled, "Wait--he wants to get wet!" I peeked around the corner and the little boy was sticking his head in the spray and shaking it like a Lab coming out of the lake.
When the last little boy was well and truly soaked, I turned off the hose and sent them home with some marigolds and zinnias as a peace offering to their mothers.
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