A Reflection for Barbara Neely
One Last Cast
The sun is shining ever so brightly this morning, and you can hear the bumble bees buzzing by from plant to plant in the greenhouse. The huge fans come to life every 15 min or so to pump fresh cool air through huge plastic tubes to this year’s seasons of flowers.
In the distance you can see Grammy walking back and forth between rows of geraniums, petunias and spikes, dragging hoses as she tends to her precious flowers for their morning watering. Carefully, row by row, table by table, drenching them with water.
She passes the tables of coleus and new Guinea impatiens, heads towards the open doors, and pats the head of kitty Buffy Mae who is waiting patiently beside the cash register on the potting table. She picks up her lipstick, then looks into the reflection of a shiny box of supplies, gives a touch up to her ruby red lipstick, and takes a sip of coffee leaving a lipstick mark on the coffee. Barb was here.
The week has been another busy one here at Plant Place with customers always stopping in to pick up their bedding plants for the spring. As Barb passes the Koi pond and the neatly arranged porch pots, you can hear the sound of the cascade of water from the water flowing into the pond. In the bright sunshine this morning, the bougainvillea display looks great. Another sign that Barbara was here.
Much later in the day when Jerry has closed the large metal gate, the workday is finally over. As the orange Kubota lumbers by with a young grandchild sitting on Grandpa’s lap, Barb and Jerr chat for a moment, then she gives the child a two-handed kiss on their forehead, leaving behind another sign that Grammy was here.
After dinner as the family sits upon the patio, resting after another smorgasbord of a meal atop Neely’s mountain, more grandkids run about. Cheerful laughs abound. Schmooey saunters by, Walter sits holding court, while Little sits upon Grandpa’s chest. A stack of empty dishes and serving dishes inside, a sign of another fine meal prepared by Grammy’s hand.
In the summer, when the work pauses for a brief trip to the shore, Grammy’s calloused hands hold a fishing pole. Standing barefoot at the edge of the surf, she prepares her pole. At the end of this day, when the summer folk have left for the day and the sun begins its descent into the sea, now is the time to enjoy the peacefulness of the beach.
With fresh line in place, she reaches into the tackle box and takes out a well-worn knife and cuts a piece of squid. She positions the bait upon the hook and readies the pole. She pauses and helps a grand child adjust their reel and then helps them cast their hook into the surf. Grammy’s helping hand was here.
With everything now prepared, she takes a sip from can of Tab, picks up her pole and casts her line into the surf. Having no bites after some time, she reels in and attempts to find another hole in the surf where the fish may be biting.
The day now is nearly over, and the sun begins to set, so before the tide rolls out, and the time has come for a final cast. Images of Westerly, Waretown and Warwick pass by in her mind. After a few minutes, she calls it a day, she packs up her gear and begins to drag her fishing cart up the dune leaving behind her footprints in the sand. Barb was here.
Written by IMV, @530AM, Friday, 05Mar2021
Wishing Gerry and the Neely family love and courage. I remember such good times with Barb, Gerry and our collective six kids at Ship Bottom and in our backyards for hot dogs, cake, and any reason at all to get together. I miss these times, and miss my dear friend who could do anything from make dinner for nine out of thin air, set in a perfect gathered sleeve, make a wedding dress from scratch or create a magnificent flower center piece. Happy trails Barbara. Requiescat in pace.