By Delilah McMasters
A knock on the car window and I nearly jumped out of my skin! Miss Ovilla standing there in a sun visor, long-sleeve button up, and what looked like a pair of her late husband’s cargo shorts and rubber boots.
“Well, as I live and breathe, Delilah, get out of that car and let’s go in! I was wondering when you were gonna get around to putting in your fall beds! Planting this late, you might as well just leave them in the pots and winterize those beds, Christmas is just around the corner!”
Miss Ovilla, how have you been? Your yard is always the best in the neighborhood. I was just sitting here wondering if I should just throw some pumpkins and corn stalks out and call it a day.
“I’m right as rain. You got to keep your yard on a schedule: feeding, weeding and rotating those beds doesn’t just happen, it takes diligence. Ya can’t just throw things in the dirt and expect a miracle! I see you went and got that hair done - guess that white is too hard to cover there in the front - but the rest looks right nice. Stop taking the lazy way out, get those mums, pansies and that ornamental kale; I know you have those pots by your front door, do something with them. You need some curb appeal in your life. Your mama is scared stiff you are gonna end up alone, like your grandmother Essie, with no man in your life.”
Oh, Lordy, why are Mother and Ovilla discussing my private life? This is not going to end well! Deflect and redirect : Sorry Anna May!
Miss Ovilla, my curb appeal is fine. I’m not a big fan of pansies and cabbage, maybe I’ll just stick with the mums and some croton, I like the way it looks with my pumpkins and cornstalks. And I’m not alone, Rico is still around. How many years has it been since you’ve had a man around? How’s Anna May and Jack? Been to the new pool yet? I can’t believe I missed out on their pool parties this summer. It seems I always have something going on with the kids.
I felt the eye squint and focus, she wasn’t being side-tracked.
“Go ahead and get what you want, just make sure you get your bluebonnets planted this year and your bulbs out. It’s not like you’re gonna invest in those mums or crotons like you should, they will be out by the trash soon enough and someone else will be taking care of them. Just like Rico, if you keep believing your curb appeal is what it was. Izzy’s what, 13 now? And you’re still carrying around that extra baby weight? And Missy, don’t you worry about the man at my house. I’m old enough to do damn well what I please. And Anna May over there partying like it’s a trailer park on payday! Pictures all over the Facebook of her flashing what God gave her in a leopard print bathing suit, smiling from ear to ear, floating around in a big blow-up donut! And don’t be trying to change the subject, you have commitment issues and we all know it!”
Mother and Ovilla are going to be on the phone for hours after this. It’s time to make nice, before this gets out of hand.
Miss Ovilla, let me help you get all this in the back of your truck, sounds like you have a man waiting at your house to help you unload it, but that ain’t none of my business. Sounds like Anna May is living her best life this summer, looks like we need to find the time to join her. Rico knows my curb appeal cleans up nice when it counts or company comes around. I’m surprised you remembered Izzy was 13, isn’t that the sweetest?! I’m touched. Commitment issues? Me? Miss Ovilla, it sounds like you might have some issues yourself. Who is this man? Does Anna May know? Maybe we should continue this over lunch? You ever had Five Guys?
Miss Ovilla’s head snapped around, and the look of shock on her face, my stomach dropped! What just happened?
“Well, never at the same time, maybe over the course of years! You need to mind your business and keep your mouth shut. Worry about yourself and get your yard in order!”
As she got in her truck, I knocked on her window, smiled and waved, she flipped me off and drove away. Standing in the parking lot I got out my phone to call Mother before Miss Ovilla got her chance. It’s my word against hers, and it sounds like Miss Ovilla’s curb appeal has attracted some shady activity! Five guys indeed! Maybe I need to drop in on her with a burger and a grin.
Commitment comes in several shapes and sizes, just mind your own yard and everything will be just fine.
Delilah McMasters is a local resident and the mother of six. Reach her at BlessYourHeart76065@gmail.com.
Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.