I’m grieving for a dear old friend. A pair of long-handled, iron-jawed loppers I bought thirty-five years ago. They were amazing. Strong, heavy-duty loppers that could cut through a tree limb like a knife through butter. We subdued many an overgrown hedge and gangly tree together, those loppers and I. They were my staunch ally against the wanton jungle that threatened to overtake my landscaping schemes. They helped me keep things under control, those long-handled loppers.
I can still remember where I bought them. A big gardening center in Atlanta back in the 80s when the kids were little. They cost a fortune, those loppers, but they were the best of the best, and I wielded them with fierce determination in all my years as a yard slave. Through three homes they were with me, kept always in their special place, left out in the yard a time or two, but always recovered. I just had them sharpened. Still good as new, strong as ever. They don’t make loppers like that anymore I bet.
They’re gone. Done in by an ill-fated project by the side of the road just before a storm. My son’s car was wedged into its parking space and I wanted to clear out an overgrown bush to give him more space. I brought out the loppers and my rusty pruning saw, the one that sent me to a walk-in clinic for a tetanus shot. No prize, that saw. Had my rake, my gloves, all the tools I needed to get the job done. I recruited my son to saw through the stubborn trunk, and laid down the loppers.
It was just not our day. I poked a lens out of my pricey eyeglasses; he got orange sap on his white shorts that refused to be washed out. With the drizzle starting, I scoured the overgrowth for the lens, hurriedly gathered up the tools, rushed to the Optical Store to replace the lens before the storm hit. And returned home to be confronted by the shorts.
Two days later, ready to finish the job interrupted by the storm, I went to get my loppers. Where they should have been, there was an empty space. I looked everywhere. High and low. Scoured the overgrowth. Checked places loppers couldn’t possibly be. Emptied three trash bins full of sappy green limbs – just in case. Nothing. Nada. Zero.
Someone must have seen them by the road–those beautiful loppers–and grabbed the opportunity. But thinking hard on it, with a sinking heart, I bet I left them on the trunk of my son’s car. A big no-no. NEVER put anything on a car. The storm, the hurry-scurry. They got left behind. And now they’re gone. I’ve looked up and down the street like a desperate pet owner whose beloved animal has vanished. I even thought of posting a “lost” sign. They’re gone. Why couldn’t I have lost the damn pruning saw?!
I want my loppers back! They’ve been with me longer than my youngest child, longer than my husband, longer than any of my homes. Eventually, after a decent interval, I’ll look for new ones, with resentment in my heart and a steely certainty that no other can fill their shoes. But not yet. It’s too soon.