Today, I mowed the yard for the last time this year. Having lived in Maritime Canada for many years, the thought of grass growing in the first two weeks of December is a little strange. The last mowing often means that the first snows are not far away. In fact just as I finished, I am almost certain that I saw some snow showers across the mountains on the northern side of the valley.
We live in an unusal neighborhood. First of all we are just over the top of a very steep hill. We have been here over fifteen years, and we have had some wonderful neighbors. Neighbors who brought with them a wonderful love of life and a myriad of interests. We have had ten neighbors in the four houses surrounding us here at the top of Roanoke's world.
When you come over our hill after dark, it is almost like an approach to the airport. The city is spread out before you, street lights blinking, and buildings glowing. There are not many views in the world that can compete with it.
Being on top of the world at the end of the road seems to make us closer. Perhaps we have been drawn closer by the few times that the county has forgotten to plow the snow off the road in the winter.
Flatlanders, anyone who does not live on the hill, often ask how we get up the hill in the winter. Actually getting up the hill has rarely been the problem. All of us at the top have at least one four wheel drive. It takes less than one winter to realize that going down the hill is far more exciting than going up. I have been fortunate to have a job that allows me to work at home when necessary. That means that snowy morning entertainment usually is watching the folks who have to go to work get down the hill.
Now that does not mean we have missed all the excitement. My son's Grand Cherokee once did a 180 degree turn one morning as the slush on the road did a quick freeze. He landed in a ditch. That's actually pretty minor compared to the two snow plows that went into one neighbor's yard or the time a neighbor skillfully guided his sliding Subaru for one half mile all the way down the hill backwards.
This has been a mild fall. Since weather usually balances itself, chances are pretty good we will pay for the warm weather with some cold weather this winter. Maybe this will be the first winter in many that our "Little Limo" gets decked out once again in chains on all four wheels. We have had a couple of winters when I ran a taxi service driving people up and down the hill.
Cold winters, icy roads and snowy weather have made for great neighbors. We have enjoyed Cinco de Maya celebrations, great Oklahoma barbecued ribs, wonderful steamed shrimp seasoned Maryland style, and a great mocha desert with some West Virginia heritage. Today we had a lunch and said good bye to some great neighbors headed back to Oklahoma.
With a little luck we'll see them again. They claim the only way that we can get to taste their ribs again is if we come for a visit. Of course only if we can get off the hill.
I have no trouble enjoying some of Glenda's "clam chowder" if we cannot make it off the mountain.