This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. As usual, it is my duty to bring you up to date on the happenings of our travels, or lack there of this week. Yes, we were supposed to be back on the road yesterday, but just like my handsome grows day by day, so does the need to go with the flow. Because if you stand still, you will get peed on. Nothing else needs to be said on this.
You see, not only are things changing in Girl Person’s neck of the orange grove, but things are changing for Boy Person’s family too. Memaw Macaw all of a sudden sold her home that had been in the family for many, many years. Yes, just as long as Girl Person’s family had lived in their cow pasture and orange grove. And since getting back on the road on time seemed less important than packing up boxes, well, I suppose that we are here for another two weeks, even though the beach in Amelia Island is really calling my name. I guess I will have to put my voicemail on for now and it will have to leave a message. My dirt hole will have to do until then. And I can’t really complain about a dirt hole. Who could? It keeps getting bigger and bigger. So by the time we leave, the people that bought this place will have a good way to remember me by.
Even though I can tell that Boy Person isn’t going to sit outside and cry about changes like Girl Person cried in the orange grove, well, I know he will miss coming back here. You see, even when you move away, it is always nice to have something to come back to, isn’t it?
But Girl Person told me that sometimes, when persons get older, it gets harder to take care of all the stuff like yards and houses and cars. Sometimes, it becomes too much, but it also becomes too much to let it go. So although this is hard for everyone, and especially Memaw Macaw, I am excited that I get to stay in my dirt hole for another two weeks and survey the happenings around here. And also make arrests. Many arrests.
You know, sitting in my dirt hole, I have a lot of time to think and look. I didn’t grow up here like Boy Person, and somehow, I picture him as an annoying little boy wandering around here. Did I say that out loud? Maybe. But I also picture him walking by many of the trees that still stand now and I wonder what all they saw. They might have seen Boy Person’s grandparents move in or when their house burnt down one day. Or that time when Girl Person would drive to see him when she was 15. But as I look at these trees and especially one palm tree that stands where Boy Person’s old little house once stood behind where Memaw Macaw lives in her parents’ house now, I feel a little respectful. Yes, even me as a Sheriff can show respect to something that deserves it. And the palm tree? Where it stands, and what is has become is different than what it once was. It has no branches. It has no leaves or palm fronds. In fact, for some, they might not see a tree at all. Because it may not be what they think a tree should be.
I suppose that all of us have ideas on what things should be, and how they should look. In fact, you might have the idea that every dog can be as handsome as me, but they aren’t. For this tree, even though it became old, the beauty and purpose of it may have changed. But to me, it became even more useful, even more beautiful. You see, in every hole, it provided a sanctuary to someone, or something. The woodpeckers, the birds, the bees, the wasps, the ants, well, they all have made it their home. It made me think of how Granny Person used to be. Her hands were wrinkled, her walk was slower. But in being slower, she was easier to find, to sit by and talk to. And with the hurried cars that drive by here day after day, I do wonder. Do they see the palm tree for what it is? Or for what it isn’t? Or do they see it at all?
For Memaw Macaw, even though she can’t take care of this anymore, she will move on to her greener pastures with family and more time to just be. She may think of that palm tree, or maybe even the grapefruit trees by her door. She may think of the bottlebrush tree or that old oak tree shading half the street. She may think of when she was a girl, or when her children were young. She may also think of a gorgeous dog that once had a dirt hole here. But the good thing is that memories can be packed up and taken wherever we go. If anyone knows this, it is us. And even though Memaw Macaw’s purpose may be changing, just like the palm tree that once stood tall and green towards the sun, she will find a way to be all she can be too. Getting older doesn’t mean being less. It means making more of who we are.
It seems to me that time goes by extra fast when we don’t want it to. Some may think that it was boring to sit in a dirt hole for weeks. Or boring to sit out in the orange grove. But when we leave here, and we will be leaving here, we have to think. Were we easy to find, to sit by, and talk to? Did we spend enough time with family before venturing back out into the unknown? We may have had to put our house search and adventures on hold. But I will tell you, that although adventures make for good memories, family does too. Even where a palm tree once stood can mean just as much as the Grand Canyon when you are sitting in that rocking chair one day. Because neither is more beautiful than the other. And the day that Memaw Macaw walks out her door that is rusted with a broken screen, she won’t remember how it looked that day. But she will remember when she turned that doorknob in that house for the first time, or with a new baby, or just because on an ordinary Tuesday.
Must be that we are all waiting years to leave somewhere. Whether we want to or not. But it is what we leave, when we do, that counts. If we have the privilege of being able to look back when we leave like Memaw Macaw, look up like that old palm tree with your head held high. And don’t forget where you once stood.
-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle