Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ahh, Spring!

April 2013, By Rose Lucas There is no place as pretty as our neighborhood in the spring – old growth trees sporting lime green leaves, pink and white flowering trees and shrubs, and the reawakening of green yards (hard to have lawns in the urban core, right?). I love the idea of a front yard with its lush grass, the shrubs at the foundations of lovely old houses, and the sidewalks welcoming walkers. Living in town gives so many pleasures and provides such interesting sites for us as we wander our neighborhood, and front and back yards contribute lots of character to our homes. This spring the fickle weather has robbed us of most of the pear blossoms (and saved a lot of us serious allergy reactions), and I have missed the avenue of Broadway in front of Transylvania being a luscious white with the Aristocrat pears. On the other hand, the late spring has given forsythia a really strong start and has it blooming along with many other perennial colorful contributors. Not often do we see the bright yellow of forsythia combined with purples and pinks of azaleas. Growing up in the Northside, I was always so glad to see spring come…being able to walk more places was part of the joy, but spring always meant school would be out soon, and we could stay out later at night to play our version of baseball (with John Irvin’s car headlights allowing an even later end to our game). This baseball game, using a tennis ball but a real bat, would without fail be played with someone’s porch as a backstop; base paths were short and generally ended at a big water maple tree (more often than not we could stop without running into it), and there was no sliding home since we would be running into steps to a porch. Our games included mostly young people ages 9 to 15, but occasionally an older neighbor would join in – such as a high school student who already had a driver’s license (but nothing better to do right then) or even a college student. All of us who were younger thought we were pretty big stuff when we got the college kids to play! As to the water maple trees – they were property line markers for a lot of the early developments in the Northside. Very few are left, and they are not the first generation ones, but I sure can remember them as bases for our baseball games, as finishes for “Red Rover” games and as providers of the most wonderful shade, even while they were sending their roots into every crevice they could find in the water and sewer pipes. A love/hate relationship if there ever was one!