The Backyard

BY: Dolores Gomez, Brisbane historian,

The grey haired woman was tired and weary. One spring day, she sat on a bench in her backyard, eyes closed as the bright sun washed over her like a like a warm shower. The din of a far away airplane could be heard. Despite her hearing loss, she could still hear a variety of bird sounds; the caw of a blackbird, the screech of a Blue Jay and the sweet chirp of sparrows overhead. She began to recall special events that occurred in the backyard many years ago; lively young children having fun, climbing the old fruit laden apricot tree in summer. She remembered reaching up and picking a ripe juicy fruit that the tree generously had yielded for years. It too got old, its branches crooked and some broken off in a storm; it had to be cut it down for safety of the children.
For a daughter’s fortieth birthday celebration, adults were inside the house, engrossed in filling plates with delicious food, chatting with friends and relatives. There was a funny, giggling Pee Wee Herman in the backyard, playing musical chairs with laughing, excited children attempting to find a chair when the music stopped. A smile came to her when she recalled their young son hit a baseball that flew over the tall fence into a neighbor’s front window. A common occurrence with boys and a bat, that insurance took care of.
Family and friends celebrated a daughter’s engagement by enjoying a lunch on a summer day in June 1999. Then later, grandchildren had fun riding their small scooters and playing catch in the yard.
Hearing an airplane droning over San Bruno Mountain, reminded her of a fighter plane in 1944 that crashed near the top of the mountain, killing the pilot. She hiked up the steep mountain with other kids to see what they might find. The Navy did a good job of cleaning up. They only found small bits of metal to take home.
She loved the exercise and pleasure that the yard offered when she spent time planting flowers, bushes and potted plants, now all old, established, overgrown and ready for another trimming. When her husband cemented most of the yard it upset her, but she knew that the work was becoming more difficult for her aging bones. When the sun began getting too warm, she opened her eyes and looked around the yard. New buds were forming on an aged climbing vine and she smiled at the beginning of a new season. A wind was coming up and there was a chill in the air, time to go back into her house where it was warm. With her eyes glazed with tears, she thought about future families that would live in the house and delight in the pleasant yard. She had hopes that families, living there after her, will also create fond, sweet memories and relish time in the cheery backyard, sitting on a bench enjoying a warm spring sun.