Catherine Friend
Catherine Friend

My Wife: The Neighborhood Hero

I used to be proud of my powers of observation on the farm. “What’s that dark spot in the trees?” I figured out it was a deer bedded down in the snow. “What’s making the tall grass move?” It was three turkey hens and ten of their babies.

Living in the city I thought my powers of observation were no longer useful, but I was wrong. I observe, then send out The Melissa to solve the problem. I tell myself I got into the habit of letting Melissa deal with things because I’ve spent my time in this city recovering from two knee surgeries, gall bladder surgery, and a bike accident, but that’s not entirely true. The pandemic made me even more of an introvert, and Melissa loves loves loves to be of service.

One snowy day I looked out the window and saw someone lying in middle of the side street. That didn’t look right (such powers of observation, heh?) I found Melissa in the kitchen. “I think someone’s fallen in the street.” Out she rushed without coat or boots to help the neighbor who’d been running after a snowblowing neighbor to ask him to clean their driveway. Melissa helped her back to her house, then tracked down the neighbor with the snowblower to deliver the request.

We live in a neighborhood filled with dogs. Many days I’ll see either an unfamiliar dog or a neighbor’s dog running down the sidewalk. “Melissa! Loose dog.” Out she flies to chat up the dog and try to get it home.  We would be sick if either of our dogs got loose and lost.

The other night while getting ready for bed I saw the neighbors with the German Shepherd stopped at a street drain, peering down into it with a flashlight. I called down the stairs: “Melissa, didn’t you once find a raccoon in the drain?” Out she dashed to explain to the German Shepherd neighbors that the raccoons get themselves in and out of the drains all the time. Then they stood around in the warm July night talking about plants and hummingbirds and raccoons.

The next evening at dusk, I looked out and observed five raccoons waddling away from the street drain, up toward the woods. “Melissa! Raccoons.” We watched the five, laughing at their ungainly walk, then two raccoons crawled out of the drain and followed, shoving against each other like brothers unwilling to share the sidewalk. Finally a last raccoon emerged from the drain and hurried to catch up with the others. 

I think I’m pretty clever. I get to be observant and never leave the house, while Melissa gets to play the Hero. Maybe that’s why our relationship has worked for 39 years.

4 Responses

  1. So, are you watching the Northern Lights this week? You should be able to see them from your location. If you do, enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.


Occasional Newsletter

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.