I turn my car into the driveway of a large, purple-gray house adjacent to the vacant lot where the happy yellow wheelbarrow sits.
I admire the stone fireplace, twin bay windows, light tower, and wrap-around porch with hundreds of spindled posts-someone’s Victorian dream come true.
Finally, after fretting about the cart for several months, I walk up the steps onto the porch and turn the switch to a door chime–one of many feminine touches to the lovely home and surrounding gardens. I ring the bell again.
I leave a note with my phone number secured under a heavy bell, well placed by the door for my apologetic inquiry. I drive away with a hope and a prayer.
My phone rings at 4 p.m. with “Robert Bloomingdale” on the caller ID. “Hello, this is Iris.”
“And this is Robert Bloomingdale. My wife found your note. We’ve wondered who would be the first person to turn off the road and ask about Amy’s cart.”
“Amy’s the name of the gardener?”
“She didn’t abandon the wheelbarrow, or something tragic didn’t happen to her?”
“Oh no. I never met Amy. I acquired her yard cart before her house in Rochester was demolished to clear the property for a new house,” Robert says. “She left her estate to her nephew who sold the house to me.”
“Amy must’ve loved flowers to own such a sweet little thing,” I say.
“I found her garage full of interesting and useful tools. Amy’s garden shed was stuffed with potting soil and pots. She’s the only woman I know who decorated the outside of her house with ladybugs and painted her house yellow.”
“Aren’t you concerned someone might steal Amy’s cart?” I ask.
“I’ve thought about that possibility,” Robert replies. “But it’s worth the risk of losing it to entertain people in an unexpected, whimsical way.”
“Well, you’ve certainly entertained me, and at last granted me consolation,” I confess.
A man born to build, Robert and his wife, Dana, own a salvage business–an occupation for those anointed with eyes to see “the potential and purpose in everything,” as Robert says.
“I’ve attempted to leave the salvage business several times, but the salvage business won’t leave me,” he adds.
For instance, October 4, 2020, Robert drove Amy’s yellow barrow, “too cute to let it go,” with one of her hoes to their property. He stopped at the entrance of his vacant lot.
“I knew that’s where the yellow cart and hoe belonged, and hoped they would make someone smile as they drove by,” Robert says.
In Amy’s honor, he’s playing with the idea of planting flowers around his charming acquisition with a “vignette” of garden tools.
“I also envision growing grapes on the five acres to make wine. We’d name the business Yellow Cart Vineyard–Amy’s legacy.”
Dear Reader, of all the possessions we attain in our lives, the humble and utilitarian speak most quietly yet powerfully of the beautiful, purposeful life.
And I’m first on the growing list of people who want the happiness of Amy’s yellow cart.
Contact Iris at firstname.lastname@example.org.