Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Meet George

Tuesday became a lovely day after a humid, cool and dark start. It was a comfortable 11° but starting on Friday, we’ll be dealing with a long spell of grey and showery days.

At 10:00, I Zoomed with Cathy for an hour and then studied ASL. Who now counting would prove to be such a challenge? Ordinal numbers are easy but telling time and signing amounts of money are proving difficult for my geriatric brain. Sigh. But I carry on, hugely encouraged by how much progress I’m making in fingerspelling. 

And, by the way, this FODMAP diet is amazing. I have no pain whatsoever now. My digestive system seems to be very, very happy now. I’m gobsmacked by how quickly and how effective the diet is. I imagine that Joanne will be advising me to stick to it forever. I’m not certain. It was presented to me as a three-week experiment. But why would I got back to eating garlic, onions and apples, given the likelihood of more dreadful pain?

In the afternoon, I met Christine and John at Whalebone Beach, they with Dexter, their dog, and me with Her Highness. Then it was home for dinner and a movie.

Today is a busy one. Plus, we’re having a power outage as a pole is replaced in my area. I’ll have no power from 10:30 to 2:30, so I can’t study then. I’ll be reading and relaxing instead.

Also last night, I did another exercise. Meet George.

When his parents decided to move from their home in Forest Hills to Parkland, his mother explained the custom of house warmings to him. And then she asked him what he’d want for a house warming present. And Georgie answered immediately.

“An Almond tree.”

They had one in the backyard they were leaving, and Grace knew how much Georgie loved that tree. She wasn’t surprised at all by his choice. It wasn’t that he liked almonds. In fact, he didn’t care for them at all. What he loved—truly, deeply loved—were the flowers. They were thick and dense and covered every branch, and their fragrance was absolutely divine.

His passion for flowers worried her a little. Sissies were bullied at school. She, and husband Ralph tried to develop an interest in sports with him to no avail, so when he developed an enthusiasm for music and wanted to join the Parkland Boys and Girls Band, they were all for it (praying all along that he’d not come home with a flute). 

When the day of the move arrived, Grace went to the nursery early in the morning and picked up a double-flowering Almond tree. It sat in their new backyard, still in its rubber container, for several days while they unpacked and set up the new house. And then, Ralph and his son planted it in a place that permitted Georgie to see it from his bedroom window.

The new house was on the side of a hill and the back border of their yard abutted a lane allowance—land that might someday become a lane. The allowance was municipal land, but they and all their neighbours claimed it as their own. That’s where they planted Georgie’s tree, close to a small grove of Vine Maples and a Cherry tree.

The family loved living in Parkland. Theyhey had a lovely view of the distant ocean and there were lots of children Georgie’s age for him to play with in their neighbourhood. Jean was relieved to find that Georgie was thriving in their company. Plus, he was doing brilliantly at school and in the band—although practicing of his trumpet was limited to the basement.

They’d been there for several very happy years, when a neighbour, Mr. Armitage, appeared at their door with a complaint one sunny summer day. And he was accompanied by a policeman. Mr. Armitage had filed a trespassing and harassment charge against Georgie with the constabulary.

Grace was stupefied! George aggressive? She could not believe her boy would do anything to warrant the involvement of the police. She invited them in and then excused herself to call Sally Bowen where George was visiting with Gary. Sally said she’d send George home right away.

When she re-joined Mr. Armitage and Corporal Adams in their living room, she was aghast when she heard what George had done. He and his wife had been hosting a party, Mr. Armitage said, when George appeared in the backyard with a small chain saw. He had, Mr. Armitage claimed, shouted to their guests to get their attention, and then calling Mr. Armitage a tree murderer. He said that George had then started a chain saw and threatened to cut down the Armitage’s huge Cherry tree.

Grace expressed her shock, but also her doubts. She found it unbelievable that tree and flower loving George, would harm a tree. But, they said, he hadn’t. He’s just threatened to. She asked Corporal Adams if he was going to be charged, and the Corporal said it depended on what George had to say.

When George arrived home, Grace said nothing. She escorted him into the living room, but when he saw Mr. Armitage, he turned, went into the bathroom and locked the door.

“What’s he doing here?”

Grace was mortified. Corporal Adams ordered him out and George immediately complied. Grace sat close beside him on the sofa as Corporal Adams explained what it meant to have a complaint lodged against him with the police. He explained to Georgie what mischeif charges were, and what would happen, and then he asked him if what Mr. Armitage had told the police was true.

“Did you enter the Armitage yard with a chainsaw, George?” 

George said yes.

“Where, in heaven’s name, did you get a chainsaw,” Grace asked her son.

“From the Collins’. Bob lent it to me.”

“And why Georgie” Why did you do this?” Grace asked.

“Can I show you something?” George asked. 

He turned and left the living room hall, but when he turned to look back at his mother and saw Mr. Armitage coming, he stopped. 

“I don’t want him coming.”

Grace was impressed and grateful that Corporal Adams had Mr. Armitage stay behind. Then she, Grace and George went outside and up onto the lane allowance.

“Mom. Do you see what’s wrong?” He asked.

“No, Georgie. What is it?” Grace answered.

“It’s April, Mom. Look at the trees”

Grace looked up but she wasn’t her son who was so invested in nature. Her gaze taught her nothing. She looked at George and shrugged her shoulders. 

“What do you want me to see, George?”

“There are no buds on the trees, Mom.”

All the trees were dying, and then Georgie asked the corporal to look at the base of the trunk of his precious Almond tree. Just above ground level, the corporal found holes drilled very close together all the way around the trunk.

“And you think Mr. Armitage did this?”

“Smell the holes, Sir,” said George. 

“That’s kerosene,” said the corporal. 

George explained he’d assumed that it was a Collins who was to blame. So, he’d gone to their house to ask, and encountered Bob, the eldest son. Bob knew who’d done it right away and lent George the chain saw.

“What made Bob think that it was Mr. Armitage who drilled the holes in your trees?” the corporal asked George.

“Mrs. Armitage told Mrs. Collins. She wanted the Collinses to know who had improved the view of the sea they now shared.”

George, Grace and Corporal Adams returned to the living room and Mr. Armitage admitted that he’d drilled the holes, but he said it was his right, that the trees were on public property. Corporal Adams acknowledged that the land was public, but he said that our trees were our private property, and that Mr. Armitage was guilty of worse offences that George was.

Grace told Corporal Adams why the Almond tree was there and what it meant to George and soon the corporal and Mr. Armitage were gone. No charges were laid against George and Corporal Adams obliged Mr. Armitage to reimburse Grace, George and Ralph.

“What does ‘reimburse mean, Mom?”

“He’s going to pay us back for the trees he killed, honey.”

“I think he should have to fetch them and plant them for us too.” George was looking at Corporal Adams as he said it.

Jean never worried about George ever again.

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