Pieces of Springtime:
Lavender Dust Bunnies, Scary Handymen on the Prowl


June 2018

Margot Oxendine

As I write this in late April, spring seems to finally be springing. We didn’t have much snow at all until 10 inches fell several times after the calendar told us it was spring. In fact, this year in Bath County, there was snow in the air later than I’ve ever seen it (and you know I keep track!): April 19. That’s a little too late, even for me.

After that, we were plagued with heavy, almost scary rains and wind. At least, we didn’t experience another derecho. One of those in a lifetime is quite enough. It was nice to see the raging waterfall, and the rushing rivers and creeks. As long as they weren’t in my yard.

This week, though, the birds are swooping around everywhere, looking for mates and checking out the real estate. I noticed several pairs of birds — sparrows, wrens, and maybe thrushes — poking around under fallen leaves (no, I never got around to raking), looking for something. I’m not sure, but I guess they were seeking building materials for their nests. I happily obliged by emptying the waste basket next to my dryer. I went outside and parsed out drifts of lavender dryer lint everywhere. I don’t know why my dryer lint is always lavender; maybe I have too much pink and purple? Not a bad thing.

Not only is my yard dotted with lavender dust bunnies, there are also some tasty tidbits out there: The tiny broken tails of pretzels, some stale crumbled shredded wheat, a couple cut-up wrinkled apples. These are almost always gone the next morning when I check. I’m glad I live up here where no one ever just “stops by.” (My rutted driveway precludes that, as do those awful thorny multiflora rose branches. My sister now refuses to come to my house; I must meet her at the end of the driveway, if we’re going anywhere together.)

Soon enough, it will be time for my yard man to begin his mowing and weed-eating. He promises to take a chainsaw to the thorny roses. There’s nothing to be done about the driveway, unless I want to spend at least a thousand dollars, so visitors: Beware, and just live with it. Or not.

I did have a rare knock on my door one morning recently. I was still in my pajamas, but “presentable,” I presumed. He knocked on the front door, which no one does. I’m not tall enough to see out the decorative window, so I opened it.

Now: I cover criminal court cases all the time. I love it, but believe me, I’m aware of what a convicted felon often looks like. This fellow checked all the boxes: Huge button holes with earrings; shaved head; lots of tattoos, including on the neck (a pretty sure sign). He was twitchy, too.

He wanted me to hire him for yard work. “I’ll do anything,” he said. “I’ll just bet you would,” I thought.

I told him I already had someone. What I should have said is, “Oh, my friend on the drug task force is doing it.” He’d have skedaddled, is my guess.

Instead, he kept hanging around, yammering. He pulled out his phone and showed me photos of his son. “I’ve got an appointment,” I said. “Sorry I can’t help you, but thanks so much.” Then, I asked for his business card, knowing he wouldn’t have one. He gave me his name and phone number.

Finally, he inquired, “Do you mind if I come in and use your bathroom?”

Aha! There it was: This “friendly” fellow’s chance to get inside my house and check out my possessions and medicine cabinets!

Fat chance, buster. “No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I’m still in my pajamas, and I don’t know you.” I suggested he “go” behind his car, which I noted the make and model of.

As soon as he’d gone, I came in here and looked him up on the circuit court website. Imagine my confirmed suspicion to discover he has a record of 22 criminal convictions!

I reported the incident to one of my favorite deputies. He knew who the fellow was, right away. “Keep him off your property,” he said. “Call us if he comes back.” I plan to. Around here, we don’t all always lock all our doors. But I’m sure doing that now.

To read more of Margo’s columns, order her book, “A Party of One.” Call 540-468-2147 Mon.-Thurs., 9-5, or email: recorderoffice@htcnet.org.