There’s a corner of our backyard that I don’t let Top Cat mow. Now that’s it’s the middle of July the growth is crazy — shoulder-high in places. I call this wildness “The Meadow”. This is a peek of it on the edge of our second patio, where we put the bird feeders. Birds, you might not know, are PIGS.
After they get through stuffing themselves at our feeders they’ve scattered enough seed on the ground for a Burpee catalog. One day this strange stalk (see photo, above) started to grow and we thought, hey, maybe the birds planted us some sweet corn! So far, it doesn’t look like corn, unless it’s some weird Chernobyl-style maize. But watching it grow counts as our Summer Activity.
Can you see them? All three of them?
This is what I call our Cash Crop.
Because I am an idiot. And I think this kind of cuteness in our own backyard makes us millionaires.
You know what else makes me feel rich?
1. When Kennedy airport (15 miles to the South of us) re-routes its flights (we never know why) the planes’ approach is right over our little village. We can sit in the backyard and read the tail fins on all the aircraft: Air France. El Al. JAL. That South American airline that LOVES the color teal. TEAL! (I could write a whole book on the 1980s and the color TEAL!) Air Suisse! Fed Ex! Each plane is a topic of association and I sit there and marvel that they can get those tin buckets to FLY. We even saw that new monster Airbus pass by — it’s a non-stop show, all those planes bringing all those people with all their stories to our neck of the woods. Who needs expensive drugs when you have this for free?
2. On the first Tuesday of every month the Locust Valley bagpipe drill team practices at the Presbyterian church in the village. You can just walk in and take a seat in the pews and listen to the most amazing Scottish music for free. In fact, those guys (and ladies) are so happy to have visitors that they will make you feel like they are playing this all for you. There’s highland drums, too: that sound pounds through your skull like the heart beat of the Celtic god of thunder. And when you get a load of the skinny Indian teenager who plays his heart out on those bagpipes you give in to the feeling that the human race is full of some of the most wondrous creatures on earth.
3. My local public library has two yards of P. G. Wodehouse books on its shelves. They’ve been there forever… that means that most of those books are vintage, with the original dust covers…(if you’re a book lover, you know how important that is). And I can borrow them any time I want. (For instance, today I got a 1958 edition of Cocktail Time, and a 1971 edition of Jeeves & The Tie That Binds — the one with the author photo of P. G. touching his toes at age 80). A good public library is like having a rich uncle who gives you free rein in his great collection of books.
4. American birds. They might be — what am I saying? THEY ARE — pigs, but they are also marvelous. It’s a fact that there are very few blue birds in the world and in fact, there are none in Ye Olde World. We in the New World are lucky to have the bluest, smartest, spiffiest blue bird in the world: the Blue Jay. Every time I see them (every day) I feel exorbitantly wealthy that I am able to feast my eyes on these astoundingly beautiful, entertaining, and jazzy smart-ass birds.
5. It’s not that I live in a 100-year old house. It’s that when this 100-year old house needs a minor face lift, my husband (the Top Cat) prepares to tackle the down and dirtiness of Home Repair in a wealthy way: he scrounges through all his power tools and his jars of bits of hardware, he hoists his tool belt and his vast stock pile of hand tools and drags together all the machinery and leather accessories and snazzy metal accoutrements of his trade, and he goes into the kitchen and pours himself a glass of red wine. Then off he goes, to do manly things, wielding in one hand a lethal apparatus of modern technology that can drill/sand/saw through steel/concrete/slate; and in the other hand is alcohol. This makes me feel rich because Top Cat’s life insurance policy covers Death By Stupid Stuff That Happens With Power Tools and I’m the only beneficiary!
So, what’s making you feel rich today?