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10.29.04, friday afternoon

Today I helped two beardy old men set up for a Halloween party that will take place tomorrow. I moved a gazillion potted plants, raked every nook and cranny of the garden, and reshelved sci-fi and books on Buddhism. Ever so often I would discover a fat juicy earthworm, to be promptly tossed into the rosebushes. We had lunch in the yard while the hummingbirds trilled, big hippie sandwiches full of great crunchy good-for-you things, with cold bottles of hard apple cider.

The old men were so cute, greeting each other as if one or the other had been long lost, with kisses. One asked the other, "What do witches say when they greet each other?" "Enchanté!" the other responded. Their old-fashioned mannerisms recalled this other beardy old man, a professor of dentistry at the dental school where I get my teeth fixed. Everytime I spotted the professor, he would be poking around a lit oral interior, singing and translating opera songs while students tittered and teetered back and forth on their feet.

Among the plants I moved were begonias, poor man's orchids, reed lilies that wrap themselves around the trunks of saplings, and a hunched-over plant with many tiny long wiry leaves, so that together these tendrils appeared like an old man's bushy beard, only it was green. I couldn't resist the desire to groom it, picking out dried leaves and pine needles until it looked neatly combed.


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