Carolyn was my next door neighbor when I moved to Texas in 1997. The first time I met her and her husband they greeted me as if we were long lost friends; I loved them instantly. She had an easy smile, kind eyes, and a wicked green thumb. A rock garden she built adorned the side of their home along with multitudes of native plants and flowers that bloomed year-round in the front. Festive decorations appeared for every conceivable holiday. We shared a side yard between our duplexes and even during the scorching heat of summer, her part of the yard always looked fresh and welcoming. And, because of her, so did mine.
I lived alone with my dog and cat, and while I did own a lawn mower and knew how to use it, I did not relish yard work. A few months after moving in I came home one day to find Carolyn mowing my lawn. She had an electric mower and said it was just as easy to keep mowing mine while she was doing theirs and – her words – she loved mowing the lawn. As foreign as this concept was for me, I had the good sense not to question it and instead delight in my good fortune and shower her with thanks. She continued to take care of my yard for the seven years I lived there and steadfastly refused any form of payment, other than my sincere and profuse appreciation.
In addition to being my lawn angel, neighbor extraordinaire, and woman of all-around awesomeness, Carolyn was also a lover of stories and a weaver of words. Her writings and poetry were as rich and lush as her gardens and just as lovingly tended. And that’s how it felt to be her friend. Another reason to delight in my good fortune and honor her memory with thanks.