It will soon become obvious why I don’t have pictures for this post.

It was early in the evening one day last summer when Jenn went outside with Hunter to weed the vegetable garden. The garden was coming along nicely; the plants were growing and healthy and it wouldn’t be long before they began to produce their crops. It did need some attention, though, and since this particular night was so perfect, Jenn decided to take advantage of it. While Jenn knelt down to pull weeds, Hunter removed article after article of clothing until she was completely naked and running around the garden. Jenn took a moment to watch her and, as she watched, she began to feel a nostalgia for that innocence and lack of modesty. Perhaps it was the sight of her naked child, so happy out of her clothes; or, perhaps it was the night, so calm and so perfectly temperate; or, perhaps it was the lack of blackflies, a rarity to be sure. More than likely, though, it was the combination of all three that made Jenn take off her clothes, too. And now there they were, mother and daughter, in the garden, completely unclothed, and enjoying the evening.

Evan came out of the house a few moments later, walked down the few steps from the small deck at the front door and past the garden on his way to feed the dogs. He looked over to see how his wife and daughter were faring in the garden. When he did, he saw his naked wife crouched over a row of carrots, happily pulling weeds. He stopped short.

“Wha…?” he said.

“I saw Hunter running around naked and she looked like she was having such a fun time.” Jenn explained. “I love that we can do this.”

Jenn didn’t want to complicate things with a long explanation, but it was clear to Evan that Jenn was experiencing one of those moments of bliss where everything in one’s life just seems to fit. Apparently, some celebrate these moments with nudity. Evan smiled and shook his head, not entirely surprised to see his wife naked outside for it was this sort of carefree approach to life that had attracted him to Jenn in the first place. He continued on to the dogyard as Jenn crouched over the carrots again and resumed pulling the weeds. “She’s crazy.” he thought on his way.

The dogs barked excitedly as Evan dished out their kibble. As each dog was fed, the noise grew less and less until there were only a few dogs left to be fed. It was then, once the barking had settled somewhat, that Evan noticed a distinct change in the sound of his neighbour’s lawn tractor. No longer was it going back and forth as he mowed the lawn. No, Evan was startled to hear it getting steadily closer to his house. He called to Jenn.

“Jenn! Hey, Jenn! Bob’s on his way over!”

Jenn thought she heard Evan yelling something but she wasn’t sure she had heard him correctly. It sounded like he had said that their neighbour was coming over. Yeah, well, that would just about be Evan’s sense of humour, too, telling her that their neighbour was coming over and here she was, naked. Besides, she could hear the lawn tractor. He was mowing his lawn.

Evan called out again: “Jenn! I’m serious! He’s coming down the driveway!” She’s so going to get caught, Evan thought. I’d better go over.

Jenn saw Evan coming from the dogyard just as she saw Bob round the corner on his lawn tractor in full view of the garden. She did the first thing that came to mind. She took cover behind a broccoli plant. “Hunter!” she called out. “Get down! Bob’s here.” Hunter turned to wave at Bob but was yanked to Jenn’s side before he could see. They lay in the dirt of the garden, behind a broccoli plant, as the first of the blackflies started to emerge.

Fortunately, Bob had spied Evan first and so had stopped his tractor tens of feet from the edge of the garden. Arriving at the garden moments after Jenn and Hunter dove for cover, Evan tried to position himself in such a way as to not only protect the honour of his wife, but to also head off what was sure to be an awkward situation for his neighbour. He tried to do so nonchalantly but he wasn’t sure if he had pulled it off or not. In an attempt to keep the focus on him, he opens with “H-Hey, Bob.” Classic.

“I just finished cutting my lawn.” says Bob.

Jenn can hear all of the conversation. The blackflies are now fully out and biting. “Seriously?” she thinks to herself. “You drove over here to tell us you’re done cutting the lawn?”

“Mom. It’s Bob. I want to say ‘hi’.” says Hunter. “Hi Bo-” she’s cut short by Jenn’s hand covering her mouth.

Evan looks to see if Bob heard that. He didn’t. Evan knows that if he keeps Bob talking on the lawn tractor there is a slim chance that he won’t want to go and see the garden. However, Evan doesn’t want to keep Bob talking any longer than is necessary because his wife and kid are somewhere in the garden minus their clothes and he can’t help but notice the blackflies. As luck would have it, Bob is dressed head-to-toe in a bug suit and is ready for just about any amount of flies.

Jenn has now been listening to the most banal conversation ever for the past ten minutes. She is getting eaten alive by blackflies which don’t seem to be bothering Hunter at all. Hunter keeps making noise and trying to wave to her neighbour because she doesn’t know yet that people look at you funny when you’re an adult and you’re outside and naked. As the conversation-about-nothing continues, Jenn seriously considers calling out “Bob, it’s Jenn. I’m in the garden and I don’t have any clothes on. Could you just close your eyes while Hunter and I go inside, please.” but she doesn’t. Instead, she continues to hide as best as she can behind the broccoli.

Meantime, Evan is only half-heartedly participating in the conversation. Between “Oh, yeah?s” and “Uh-huhs” that he hopes he’s adding at the appropriate spots, he’s wondering how rude he is seeming because he is not offering anything to the conversation at all. He would love to find an excuse to get Bob to move away from the garden, to turn his back so that Jenn and Hunter can escape into the house, but he’s afraid to get Bob to move because, so far, he hasn’t seen Jenn.

“Well…” says Bob, trailing off.

“Yep. Well…” Evan says. He’s aware that Bob wants him to continue the conversation, but he can’t. He won’t. As rude and awkward as it may seem.

“I guess I should be getting home.” says Bob.

“Yeah. I guess.” Evan returns, and to himself he says Please.

“Boy, these blackflies are horrendous.” Bob says, trying to open a new topic.

“Yeah.” Evan agrees. Laying in the dirt, Jenn thinks to herself you have no idea how bad they are for some of us.

“Okay, then. I’m going to get going.” sighs Bob, clearly disappointed. Mercifully, he starts the lawn tractor and heads down the driveway. As the sound of it fades around the corner, Jenn loudly whispers to Evan “Is he gone?”

“Yes.” is the reply.

That was the answer Jenn had been waiting for. She scooped up Hunter and her clothes and dashed to the house, scarcely touching the stairs on her way inside.

Evan went back to finish feeding the dogs.

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14 Responses

  1. I do hope you will write a book about your life, you and Jen have such a great outlook on life

    • Hi Marylou –

      Thanks. Around here, a person sort of needs that kind of outlook. Given some of the choices we make, that outlook is about the only way to cope.

  2. That is too funny, but poor Jenn! Couldn’t you have invented something you just had to show Bob, somewhere far away from the garden, maybe around a corner and out of sight?

    I wonder what the chances are that he knew all along that they were there and just didn’t quite know how to ask why there were two naked people hiding in your garden?

    • I wanted to get him to go somewhere out of sight, but he was facing the garden and I thought that maybe with his change in perspective – from standing up on the lawn tractor to get off – he would see Jenn. We have since talked to him about it and asked him if he knew Jenn was there and he looked honestly astonished and said that he had no idea she was there.

  3. I’m sure she’s going to appreciate this post! Good luck to you Evan! Maybe you should write about the time she was playing dress-up with Hunter when the Insurance guys showed up?!

    • She doesn’t read this thing, anyway, so I’m okay. I might write about the insurance guy one day, maybe even the couple that came to buy eggs and Jenn was wrestling with Ty in her nice dress. Maybe. We’ll see how I make out with this post.

  4. Why am i not surprised. You have a fun life and a great family. I can remember you laughing at the way we do things on the Island but this makes us even…keep laughing

    • Hey, Pa Kettle,

      It’s great to hear from you!

      I laugh at the way things are done on the Island because we can make things pretty complicated here on the mainland. I still remember you telling me about the 4-wheel drive truck and the snowstorm: “…well, couldn’t you just go tomorrow?”

      You know, you should write a blog or a book. Your stories should be heard. You could call it “Coffee in the Busy-bo with Pa Kettle.”

  5. Gotta love broccoli!

    Great story Ev!

    • I guess when Queen Victoria visits the National Art Gallery and they find themselves all out of fig leaves, we can provide a substitute broccoli leaf.

      (…and before I hear about it from my Dad, I know Queen Victoria is dead.)

  6. Great story!! Nancy gave me the name of your blog a while ago and I think I’ve caught up with reading it. You’re a wonderful writer. I’ll be a regular if that’s ok.

    Barbara (neighbour to your in-laws)

  7. No need for pictures, you painted a pretty vivid picture of it all!You kids are nuts, it’s offical.

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