There’s a lady that lives down the street from us. Her name is Julia.
Julia is from Europe and I’m guessing she is in her late 80s maybe even early 90s. She has the best garden in the area. I have serious flower envy of her Cala lilies. Every year they bloom like crazy in her garden on the corner of Apex and Garibaldi.
Occasionally I see her daughter visiting her, but typically it’s just her and her husband working in the garden or enjoying the sun and a cup of coffee on the front porch.
Every Sunday I see her walking to the Catholic Church up the street. Plain black dress, kitten heels and a black shawl. The dress is a bit dated but she carries herself so well that it still looks stylish. And seriously, who wears kitten heels in their eighties? And walks to church?
In my mind I have imaged that she is some glamorous European movie star that has exiled herself to North Vancouver. Like Greta Grabo.
One day last summer I was driving my daughter and a friend to dance. As we passed Julia’s house I noticed that she was, as usual, working in her garden. All of a sudden my daughter’s friend screams “there’s a bear in that ladies garage”. I asked her if she was sure and quickly pulled a u-turn to take a look. Sure enough. A large black bear was sitting in the middle of her garage chowing down on the contents of her overturned garbage can. I stopped the car and jumped out to warn Julia. The conversation went something like this.
“Julia there’s a bear in your garage.”
“What?” (she’s a little hard of hearing)
“There’s a BEAR in your garage.”
“No there isn’t.”
“Yes there is.”
“In your garage.”
Still shaking her head, she walked around the side of the house. Two seconds later she’s walking back towards me.
“There’s a bear in my garage.”
“Yes Julia, I know.”
She ran around to the side of the house and proceeded to grab a shovel and chase the bear down the street. Ten minutes later she was back out tending to her flowers again. Smiling and happy. Not a care in the world.
Today I drove past Julia’s house and she was out power washing the driveway. I thought for a moment that it was her husband since she was wearing a plaid jacket and black toque. But no, it was her. It made me think. What will I be doing when I’m that age? Will I be as active, stylish and happy as Julia?
God I hope so.
The Best Thing in Life is having a movie star down the street to be my role model.