Mrs. B lived next door to us at the lake. We bought our old Resort and they bought the neighboring lake home the same year. She and her husband were retired. She was a very outspoken woman. She was a tiny little woman who must have topped the scales at 95 pounds soaking wet, with silvery grey short practical hair.
The very first time I met her she said "Hi, Welcome to the neighborhood, I am Mrs. B and I hate dogs." I tried not to burst out laughing when I replied "Nice to meet you, I love dogs." I don’t beat around the bush much either. Each of us knew immediately where the other stood on that issue. She did not want any of our dogs at her place. We only had two dogs at that time, Misty and Moses both Shetland Sheepdogs or better known as "Shelties." There was a big patch of woods and brush between our properties, if Far Guy walked over there without putting the dogs in the house, they would follow him, and then eagle eyed Mrs. B would holler "Your Dogs are here." She really did have an eagle eye too and ears. She hated red squirrels at her bird feeders and would blast them into to oblivion, sometimes if I was outside I would hit the ground until the shooting stopped. If she baked something for us, she would call and say I am delivering something to you right away, put your dogs in the house. Only then would she walk over, I used to meet her outside and walk part way back with her. She was a really good baker.
Her gardens were all perfect, weeds were not allowed to grow anywhere. Their lawn was perfect. We liked dandies over at our place they are partly green and a wonderful cheerful yellow. She had a hat that made her look like someone lost in the Amazon. It was beige and wide brimmed with mosquito netting sewed all around. The mosquito netting tied up around her neck, not that too many mosquitoes would actually have the audacity to bite her..but just in case she wore her get up anyway. The mosquito netting was so dark you wondered if it was really Mrs. B ..it was the long sleeved white gardening shirts that gave her away, and the gloves.
In the spring when it was muddy, they left their car at the end of the driveway and hiked in so their driveway wouldn’t get all full of deep ruts. Their car wouldn’t get muddy either. Our drive was muddy and rut filled, I refused to hike carrying bags of groceries, and our vehicles looked like big mud balls.
One Christmas Eve, we were at Church, a blizzard warning was out. We left for home, Mrs. B and her husband were just fifteen minutes behind us. She walked in front of the car for the last two miles, because they could not see the road. That was the Christmas Eve Blizzard of 1993.
I tried my best to get into Church after they were seated, because sitting in the pew behind or in front of them could be your worst nightmare. If we got into Church first, they often sat behind or in front of us. On one such occasion, our teenage girls got the giggles, you know the kind of giggles that you just can’t stop. I prayed for them to be able to stop, It did not work. Mrs. B turned around and scowled at the girls and me, which made the girls giggle even more. After Church I had to remind Mrs. B that children are gifts from God and in my case giggling gifts from God.
She called to complain on a regular basis, the people in the campground were too loud at night. She heard them talking after eight at night. If the girls had their music on too loud outside, the phone would ring off the hook. We had an outside bell that rang when the phone rang, she could hear it from her place, she would never leave a message on the machine, she would just hang up and call again..until I finally answered. I was tempted to buy her earplugs.
She would have her Grandkids for a week during the summer, we would ask them over for Campfires at night, but they were never allowed up past seven, she had them on a strict schedule for their entire visit and there was no disrupting the schedule.
Everything was neat as a pin inside her house. "Everything in it’s place." There was no dust, the windows were always sparking clean, not a speck of dirt was on the floor. She had a rigid schedule, of washing, ironing, baking, and cleaning all which happened on the appropriately chosen day.
I think that Mrs. B was a perfect Lutheran Pastors wife, she had a picture of what that was and aspired to it everyday of her life. I know she loved her children and grandchildren..but did she really enjoy them? She loved her husband, but she kept him in line. He ate what and when she said. He often would sneak a piece of candy or a cookie with his coffee at our house and tell me "Don’t tell Mrs. B" He walked over to visit quite often, he liked the dogs, the cats and the teenagers. He always had some funny story to tell or have words of encouragement to share. He was one of the few people that used my shortened name "Con". He and I shared a saying "sounded like a bunch of dying quails" ..we both would share that with the Pastor that would pick out one of those totally unsingable songs found in The Lutheran Hymnal.
I thought about that this past Christmas Eve, when we were supposed to sing "On Christmas Night All Christians Sing." Now that must be such an old hymn that only a few really hard core Lutherans have ever heard it much less sung it..especially on Christmas Eve. And yes it did sound just like dying quails:)