Saturday, March 4, 2017
As Dad pulled into the upper parking lot around 8:30 AM, I noticed a line of workers beginning the church work day. My siblings and I were dropped off in the back where Mr. McCoon was weeding by himself. After saying goodbye to Dad (who planned to pick us up at 11:30), we exchanged greetings with Mr. McCoon and got to work.
Mr. Rawlings came out of the building a few minutes later. He greeted my siblings and me before informing us about the donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate in the lobby. When we did not jump up to get some, he gave us a few instructions about weeding before heading off.
It was cold, and I was glad that I had had the good sense to ask Alexa about the weather and wear double layers. I did not, however, have the good sense to take Mr. McCoon up on his offer to supply us with gloves. My hands were fine when he asked, but soon afterward they became sore from sifting through mulch for weed roots and numb from the cold. 😅 😅
Last night, when I was deciding what to wear, I had another one of those feelings. You know, the ones you sometimes have when you end up predicting the future. This time, I had a feeling that Abi was going to wear her black and red plaid top. You can only imagine my surprise when, a few minutes later, I glanced up to see Abi step out of the building wearing that exact top. 😱
I decided to inform my best friend of this oddity when she walked over. However, she did not. “Hey, Abi,” Mr. Rawlings began. “When you’re done go help Tristen.”
She stood by the door and took another bite out of her donut before stepping back inside. Okay. I thought. I’ll tell her later.
Finished with the section I was weeding, I joined Haydn in weeding the bed of rocks. I was telling him about my feeling come true when Mr. Rawlings walked by. “What’s that?” He asked, and I told him. “Wow,” He said. “It’s like your psychic.” Abi was soon by my side, and I filled her in.
Saying that he’d go over it with weed killer, Mr. Rawlings explained that my friends and I didn’t need to weed the rock patch. So we weeded around the corner and continued to work on the beds on either side of the smaller back door. This is where Sarah found us.
Hugs were exchanged before my now frozen fingers prompted me to ask about gloves. Ansa and I followed Sarah who supplied each of us with a pair. We put them on and returned to our work where I remained while Sarah and Ansa left to get donuts.
The two girls soon returned with treats for Abi, Haydn, and I which we ate before deciding to go in for our own break. I mostly went along because I needed to warm up my cold bitten fingers. After several minutes of rejuvenating (during which Abi made several runs to the kitchen only to come to the conclusion that we did not have any lids that fit our cups😂 😂), we returned to work.
Soon my friends and I had weeded around the corner and were working on the side of the building where our job title was changed to “diseased rose bush gatherers.” While a rose bush was being trimmed or pulled up, we gathered all the clippings from the beds and organized them into heaps along the curb. Noah (my best friend’s older brother) would then collect as many piles as possible into a little cart and carry them off to the central brush pile.
When it became apparent that he was not returning from one trip anytime soon, Mrs. Gina had Abi go fetch him. My best friend returned several minutes later riding in the back of Noah’s cart, fist stuck in the air, and a silly expression on her face. Mr. Rawlings laughed at the spectacle and poised a question to Noah who replied, “I don’t know, she just got in.” 😂 😂
Once out, Abi and I helped Noah pile the cart high with thorn ridden branches. To ensure that nothing would fall out, my best friend and I joined Noah on his short journey to the growing pile beside the trash cans. Abi began to commentate on how she had looked like George Washington crossing the Potomac River when she rode in the cart. “Yeah, except for the sun,” Noah said. 😂 😂
Back and forth we went hauling the remains of diseased rose bushes. At her father’s request, Abi left in search of a blower, but I stayed behind to form the next piles to be hauled away. Haydn later joined me with a rake to get the little pieces.
When Mr. Rawlings yanked out the last diseased rose bush (which he was doing by wrapping the shrub with a rope (which was attached to the Rawlings’ SUV) and driving off), Noah abandoned the cart to help Abi start the blower. I gathered up the last of the clippings while Mr. Roberts threw on the bush. I then took the handle of the cart in one hand and steadied its load with the other.
I made it to the pile without losing any cargo and was thankful for my quick discovery of what exactly one has to pull to detach the bucket from the wheels for unloading. I was just beginning to dump the brambles when Noah and Joshua ran over. Together, the three of us went to collect the branches Mrs. Gina was trimming off one of the only rose bushes we were keeping.
My next job was weeding the mulch bed around the sign with Ansa. This took a while. Abi and then Sarah came to help and then Sarah and Ansa left to help Mrs. Gina plant Pansies along the sidewalk.
Abi and I went on to help mulch but were soon asked to haul off the last of the rose bushes. Abi tried pulling one by its roots, but we soon left in search of some gloves. Minutes later we were in the lobby where we found gloves and a tempting urge to take a break. One and a half donuts later, Noah walked in for some water which he went for after setting his gloves on the table. His dad traded Noah’s pair for his before Abi, who did not find her gloves next to mine, snatched Noah’s up and went out the door. “You can’t take those!” I said. “Those are his.” This had no effect on my best friend, so I followed her. “Sorry,” I told Noah before stepping outside.
Back at the remaining rose bushes, Abi grabbed one by its roots and headed off. I turned to the remaining shrub only to find, upon closer inspection, that my “bush” was actually two bushes and several clippings mushed together. I came to this realization right when Noah appeared. Understanding my dilemma, he volunteered his help which allowed the “bush” to make it from the upper parking lot to the brush pile in the lower parking lot in one piece.
While delivering another load of mulch to Haydn and Abi, I sliced my heel open by stepping on a palm tree branch. Once the mulch was unloaded, I sat down to examine the cut. Blood was trickling out at a steady rate, so I announced that I was going to get a Bandaid. “You don’t need a Bandaid!” Abi exclaimed. Okay, well I was at least going to stop the blood flow. That’s what I was doing in the lobby minutes later when Ansa came in to tell me that it was time to go.
We met the Hawkins at Bruster’s where my siblings and I got free ice-cream for showing up in our pajamas (we changed on the way). We hung out for a few minutes before heading off to run a few errands. Our last stop was the Bruster’s near my grandma’s house. I remembered that location was our final stop on PJ Day last year, too. I had been exhausted from a sleepover with Abi and disappointed that we weren’t able to get ice-cream together. Next year. I had told myself. Next year. We see how that turned out. 😂 😂