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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Family values

Daughter and Beloved setting out a picnic
prepared by Daughter and her Young Man

I had dreaded coming out to our neighbors, as they are serious country church-goers, and so they were probably the last people to see the former me alive. Boy-mode becomes increasingly difficult to maintain for most transwomen and eventually impossible -- the hiding requires more effort, and feels like self-betrayal. Yet one is never sure where on the slippery slope to let go and slide.

The other side of this church-going thing, though, is that we knew that they put themselves where the Gospel lives. Retired for many years now, they're often not at home because they're off somewhere visiting the sick and helping the hungry, which is what Christians are supposed to do. So, a) I felt that maybe I had a chance of being tolerated by them and b) I felt that my mowing was a way of participating in their activities. Support for the right kind of missionaries, so to speak.

A couple of years ago, I took to mowing on Sunday mornings when they were gone; The Invisible Grass-Slayer Strikes Again. Hopelessly cowardly, and amazingly enough, sustainedly cowardly. A day came when they were home when I did not expect them, and I was mowing their back yard in my one-piece swimsuit in very hot weather, with my wide-brimmed straw hat, sweating like a piglet.

Mister came out with a glass of cold cranapple juice.

"She says thank you and would you like some juice."

"Yes sir, I would. Thank you."

Well! Cat's out of the bag. I could see the outline of Missis just inside the screen door; felt scrutiny, but saw no sign of what either of them thought.

He took the empty glass and went inside. I fired up the mower.

The next day he delivered a loaf of fresh bread to Beloved while I was at work. "This is some more thanks for the mowing she's done. It's been a big boost for us -- we've been feeling our mortality."


The next day we took over a basket of veggies.

While I was in Florida for my surgery, Mister mowed both places and kept an eye on things.


By dint of hard labor, Beloved has this year's garden pretty much in. Tomatoes, corn, beans, eggplant, celery, squash, pumpkins, sunflowers, zinnias. The pie cherries are red, and there will be one kind of plums (the other tree is having a rest) and three kinds of apples (the other three are also having a rest); the pear tree, which has never really tried, is making a valiant effort.

I haven't participated much in all this very directly this year; my strength is not what it was and after a project or a meeting I seem to want to sleep for hours. I'm feeling my mortality, like Mister and Missis.

Daughter and her Young Man decided they would treat us to a picnic. They came over on a Saturday and brought cheese, veggies, strawberries and ale.

I get awfully antsy when I see people doing kitchen work that aren't me.

"Anything I can do?"

"Go sit down. You're the Mower Lady. You do plenty."

We sat along the edge of the shade from the fir trees and watched the swallows curvetting in the sunlight, picking off bugs for their babies, or cottonwood fluff from mid-air to line their nests.


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