Ms. Jean


Last weekend I met Ms. Jean, my neighbor who lives across the street. Dave and I were shoveling our sidewalk and he noticed her walking down her steps with a shovel. I walked cross the street to offer my help, but she insisted she didn’t need any.

I didn’t ask her age, but she was old enough to tell me she felt “privileged to be healthy enough to shovel her walk.” At what age does that change happen? I feel like it aligns with the “I’m going to tell you random facts about my life, despite your not asking” stage of life. The very sweet Ms. Jean has reached that stage. Here are some things I learned about her while I was not helping her shovel snow:

  1. She tutors local high school students, which is great because it keeps her young. She hasn’t been able to work with them recently, but is about to get back into it. I don’t know what subjects she tutors, but I assume it’s either knitting or quantum physics.
  2. She has a tiny dog named Annabelle, who she took in when she was 4 months old (Annabelle, not Ms. Jean, that would be ridiculous, this isn’t a Tuck Everlasting dog). Ms. Jean’s friend, who works a lot, called her up and said, “You have to take this dog. She just sits in a cage all day long.”
  3. Ms. Jean leaves the tv on for the dog, so she doesn’t get lonely. I don’t know why she does this, since Ms. Jean is almost always home and clearly likes to talk.
  4. She knows I have probably seen Annabelle out and about, because she likes to give her her freedom. She’s right. I have. At first I was concerned, but I appreciate the grandmotherly distance Ms. Jean takes in raising the pup.
  5. All of her children live out of state, except one son. Annabelle loves that son. She expresses her love by falling on the floor and crying. I’m concerned that Ms. Jean doesn’t have a good emotional gauge for pets.
  6. She likes to shop at Trader Joe’s, but sometimes she goes to Whole Foods. We didn’t have to speak the truth of why we both only sometimes shop at Whole Foods. We know neither of us are millionaires.

Next time I see Annabelle walking down the sidewalk, I won’t worry. I’ll know she’s just taking a break from her soaps with Ms. Jean.

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