Jean Erck, my friend from Houston, has been visiting, which is a rare delight. Our friendship goes back to being room mothers and new-lawn caretakers together when our children were small.
Jean had the best throwing arm in the neighborhood because her son, Martin, had a paper route. Those of you who have had sons with the same avocation have long since learned that when it is raining, they are on an Indian Guide overnight, the kid has a cold or a flat bicycle tire, it is dear, sweet mother who takes the paper route. Jean could roll them and rubber-band them as fast as any carrier in Orange County. What's more, she could porch the paper while driving a large station wagon and hanging onto a 3-year-old in the seat beside her at the same time.
I well remember the day she came in and said, "Well, I believe Martin's character is built enough. I'm giving up the route."
The supervisor was bereft. She was the best carrier he had, as well as the most cheerful and dependable. Oddly, she did not feel her two younger boys needed that character building. Isn't that funny? As a matter of fact, they all turned out to be fine, good strong characters and delightful men.
When Jean agreed to come for a visit, I did not intend for her to become involved with Peaches or Mrs. Goldfarb. But of course, if you are staying here, you are automatically involved with the twosome. I am not saying they are not smart animals. They simply seem to have a good deal of trouble getting through a perfectly commonplace day. And if one is around them, one is drawn into their strange vortexes.
The other day, Jean was seated at the computer, which she and Patsy seem to enjoy. It is in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. Jean was pushing the buttons and the machine was making its busy-body sounds when, all of a sudden, everything was still.
I walked into the office and Jean was looking down at the bottom of the window. Mrs. Goldfarb was outside looking in toward the area of Jean's seat. Mrs. Goldfarb had a faraway look as if she were trying to remember where she'd left her umbrella. Jean was looking at her feet where there was a dove. Now, this bird may be the symbol of peace but they are dumb and crabby. They battle for the birdseed Patsy puts out when there is enough for all the birds, and they pick on the smaller birds.
This one had wandered into the house, absent-mindedly walking through the open sliding door. It was walking back and forth in front of the window on the inside. On the outside was Mrs. Goldfarb, walking back and forth and looking in at the dove. Finally, Mrs. Goldfarb came in the door and she and the dove continued their slow-motion chase. No one ever got out of a walk. Poor old Mrs. Goldfarb knew there was something she should be doing but she couldn't think of what it was.
Finally Jean tired of this ridiculous pas de deux and rolled up a piece of paper. With this, she pushed at the dove, who simply sat down. It was so confused, it couldn't think of what to do next. Mrs. Goldfarb backed up. She really wanted nothing to do with the big stupid dove. Actually, Mrs. Goldfarb is getting along and I would have put my money on the dove had it come to a real confrontation. Fortunately, Jean's gentle nudgings got the great dolt to stumble out the door. Once he turned around as if to come back in the house and Jean waved her paper at the dumb thing.
Mrs. Goldfarb strutted around for the rest of the day, telling everyone who would listen about how she chased a dove out of the house. Not true. Jean did it.