Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This reminds me of something

Back during my previous job, when I was a contractor reading electric & gas meters, I was working a route that went down Hildebrand--a route that I did several times--and got to this one house that had both meters in the back but they couldn't be seen from behind the house because of all the stuff in the back yard. So I had to go around front and rattle the gate. The house had a gate, which was locked, and I didn't plan on climbing a locked gate if I could get someone's attention first.

So I rattled the gate, and I heard a creaky old voice shout, "Whad'ya want?!" So I answered back that I was there to read her gas & electric meters. "Oh, okay," she said, "be right out."

She came out an unlocked the gate, and said, "I thought you were one of those damn missionaries again." She was a tiny old lady who could have been any age between 85 and 200 for all I know. She led me into her back yard, which as I said, was full of stuff. I keep italicizing that word to emphasize that there was a lot of stuff. There were potted plants everywhere, both on the ground and hanging from tree limbs and ornamental pot hangers. There were all kinds of weird outdoor knick-knacks and rustic objet d'arts everywhere, both sitting and hanging like the potted plants. And as I had said, she was tiny. She couldn't have cleared 5 feet. She must have lived there alone for a long time because all the hanging objects in her back yard were hung low-altitude for short people. I had to keep dodging and ducking to work my way through there. The whole time she was rattling on about this & that, the way old lonely people do to unexpected and not unwelcome company (I run into this kind of thing a lot, though not as much anymore since I no longer have to go into people's yards).

She said one thing that I thought was interesting and which stuck with me, for some reason. As she was walking me back to her front gate, she looked at the thin strip of her almost non-existent front yard and said, "You know, when I first moved here, that street out there wasn't nothin' but a cow trail. But they kept widenin' it, and every time they did, they took a little bit more of my front yard. And now there ain't hardly nothin' left."

From San Antonio Remembers:
Cow Street is renamed to Carey Avenue (later Hildebrand in 1928.)

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