Roman, the guy next door, is already up, raking leaves on Saturday, while I’m still having a morning coffee and cigarette on the porch. He is an older guy, painfully slow, but he plugs away all morning. Roman is precise: brushes off the lawn mower after every use, including the blades underneath and the spark plugs – with a different brush. He has a frame that holds his leaf bag and a nifty scooping contraption so he doesn’t have to bend over. Smokes a pipe, never waves back, even though we’ve been neighbors for 20 years.
Most days he's doing something in one of the sheds, slowly, purposefully picking something up, carrying it away, bringing it back.
Once in awhile a younger man will show up and tear through whatever yard work is happening with an almost angry energy. Some younger relative, I imagine, and Roman must drive him nuts. He can’t get out of there fast enough.
A fine old Frenchman – French-Canadian actually, though New Englanders knew that’s what I meant – whose like we don’t see as much as when I was a boy.