The photo is from 1978. My son, his truck. Behind him, my truck.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lila Spear

October 1983 to July 1985

Lila Spear was a spry old woman living on the side of a hill in La Honda.  I liked her instantly.  The ceiling of her bedroom was sagging, leaking strings of dust from the attic onto the tufted coverlet of a double bed.  There was a single pillow, not in the center but off to one side. 

When I quoted my price, she flinched, then accepted.

That flinch still haunts me.

She had a bearing of pride mixed with resignation.  The interior was slightly spooky and had seen better days, but she kept it tidy.  She offered me drinks while I worked. 

There was a shed-like garage full of old lumber, which she said I could use.  The lumber was silent testament to the absent pillow — like a ghost.  Every house needs somebody to watch over it.

We'd chat, Lila and I, though I can't remember what we talked about except that once she asked if my back was hurting.  "It always hurts," I said. 

She nodded.  "We just keep going," she said.  "What else can we do?"

A year or two later I got a call from a lawyer representing her estate.  Lila had passed away.  Teenagers were breaking into the empty house and holding beer parties.  Would I go over and board up the windows? 

"Of course," I said. 

As it happened, I could do it right away.  There was lumber in the shed.


Lila Spear

had a wavering voice,
when I met her,
and a house full of memories
needing repair.

No comments:

Post a Comment