Testing our Faith in Humanity with Flowers

My husband is a very generous man. He would give a stranger the shirt off his back, the shoes off both feet and probably his BVD’s if called upon, but he draws the line at saving the world. That’s my department.

Mike Brindley

That's Mike.

For the past few years I have been working with other folks in the community to revitalize Downtown Wayne. I go to meetings, help with fundraisers and spread the word in every way I know how. Some of the other people who do this with me have spouses that design logos, clean flower planters and otherwise support their cause.

That’s not Mike.

So imagine my surprise when we were sitting on the porch this morning drinking our first cup of coffee listening to a rather insistent cardinal in the tree next door and he said, “Hey Red, I was thinking about putting a pot of flowers on each of the four corners here. Do you think the neighbors will mind, the corners are sort of theirs, too?” And he walked me out across the yard to the corner just to be sure I understood his vision of placing flowerpots near the curbs at the crosswalks.

Tonight we picked up four brand-new pots and a flat of marigolds and a flat of petunias. We planted them in the good Miracle Grow soil and placed them at the four corners of the intersection at Forest Ave & 4th Street.

He was inspired, he said, by the Wayne Ripple Effect flower planting project in the downtown. He will say it’s just that he likes flowers around, but I think it’s something more. It reminded me of a bumper sticker I saw today that said, “Be the Change you want to see in the World”.

Faith in Humanity Flowers

Faith in Humanity Flowers

So today is the first day the pots are out there unprotected in the public space that has no psychological barrier, no cyclone fence, not even a hedgerow to remind a passerby that this flower pot belongs to someone else.

Tomorrow morning I am hoping we can count “Day One” that the pots have survived out there on the four corners undisturbed and that maybe in October when it’s time to clean them out and put them away for the season all four will still be there. A shining testament of hopefulness reaffirming our faith in humanity.

Corner #4

Corner #4

Corner #3

Corner #3

Corner #2

Corner #2

Corner #1


Life Outside My Window – Naked Girl at 5:30am

Our House in full Summer Bloom

In our house, Summer hours begin on Memorial Day each year. This means that all summer long the alarm rings at 5:15am. Today I almost slept in and missed another episode of “Life Outside My Window”.

Since I moved my office from the dining room to the back bedroom, I don’t see as much of the action. This morning more than makes up for it.

We are a little sleepy still, eyes half open settling in on the porch with our first cup of coffee. We’re sitting quietly talking about the Catholic Church vs. Baptist vs. Congregational when we see a young woman walking toward us along the side street wearing a skimpy little white t-shirt, turquoise underwear and shiny black high-heeled shoes. She could be 14 or 24 it is hard to tell, even from this short distance.

Girl walking down the street in her underwear.

This is not her. But you get the picture.

I am sort of in disbelief so I ask Mike, “Is that girl walking down the street in her underwear?”

“I think so,” he said.

We are both sort of staring, sipping our coffee in a state of wonderment

Then she’s a little closer and we can hear her say into her cell phone, “Where are you? I’m walking down the street naked.”  Confirming  that, yes, this is a girl walking down the street in her underwear.

Just then a car drives by and she jumps behind a large shrub at our neighbor’s house across the street. He volunteers in youth services for a local church. I wonder what he would do if he saw her long, skinny bare legs there peeking out to see if the coast is clear.

When she moves again, she has passed our house and I can no longer see her. I sit for a moment.

I can’t stand it and I tell Mike, “I’m just gonna check to make sure she’s ok.”

I tip toe in my bare feet and my granny jammies around the corner. She’s got long legs so she’s alot farther down the block than I thought she would be.

Thankfully, another car approaches and she crouches down behind some more bushes, and closes her cell phone.

When she stands up again, I call out to her, “Honey, do you need a ride somewhere?”

She seems grateful, but says no she is just looking for her friend. So I offer her something to put on and she accepts. We walk back to the house and I sit her down on the porch bench while I try to find clothes that won’t wrap twice around her. A pair of Cody’s old shorts will do fine.

When I walk back outside with the shorts she is gone. I look side to side and there she is crouching down beside my car.

“Did you call the police on me?” she asks.

“No honey,” I assure her, “But somebody may have called them if they saw you walking around like this.”

She slips on Cody’s shorts and another patrol officer cruises by the house.

“Will you please take me back to my friend’s house,” she asks, looking worried, “I got kids. I don’t want trouble with the police you know.” Now it’s easy to see that she is closer to 24 than 14. There are lines and a hint of dark circles under her eyes.

We hop in the car and I drive her a block over to her friends house. All the while she is apologizing, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t think anyone was up at this time.”

When she got out of the car the last thing she said to me was, “Good night.”

It was 6:00 a.m.

Apparently our story was the end of her yesterday, and the beginning of my today.