It is a warm Spring afternoon, the kind you can have here in the Carolinas even before the first of May.
My friend Delbert Earle is sitting at his kitchen table, next to the window that looks out on the back yard. He can feel the warm breeze on his face, smell the scent of nature budding and bursting, all full of herself.
He can hear the chattering of bird couples, fussing with each other over their redecorating plans: “Shall we put the twig here?” “No, silly, over there.”
Every once in awhile, Delbert Earle leans toward the window and calls out, “Green side up!” His boy Elrod is planting sod in the back yard.
“Aw, Daddy,” Elrod calls back in disgust.
Delbert Earle laughs. Even Elrod cannot diminish his feeling of well-being this Spring afternoon. This will be the year Delbert Earle has the perfect yard.
Only fescue and ornamentals will sprout from his ground.
Chickweed and crabgrass will move down the street for the summer.
It will rain every third day – a warm, gentle rain.
And Wal-Mart will run their best fertilizer on constant special.
There will be no leaks in the garden hose, no pigeons in the eaves, no fungus in the photinia.
The lawnmower will crank every time on the third pull.
And the day the “Yard of the Month” committee shows up in front of Delbert Earle’s house, everything will be lush and green and exploding with color.
As Delbert Earle ponders horticultural perfection, he can almost hear the song of the turtle-dove out in the yard where Elrod is planting sod.
“Green side up!” he calls again – the call of the American Dreamer.
After all, what’s Spring for, anyway?