Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

August 18, 2002


A few of the things I see outside my study window every morning


            There are things I wish I could share with others. Not things really, but sights and experiences, like the things I see outside my study window every morning.

            The running rosebush is one. Last summer I bought five running rosebushes. I know -- they should not be planted in the summertime.

            I thought that too, until I asked the nice saleslady at Southern Homes and Gardens. She told me I could plant roses anytime; they just need more water and attention if planted in the summer.

            Only two of the roses lived. And I know why the other three died. I did not tend to them, and water them, as I should have. I was busy with other things. And I have grieved over my deceased roses, and apologized.

            The one outside my study is sturdy and strong. I named her Rosie. She knows I have been looking at her. So she has rewarded my attention with several beautiful white roses.

            Today four lovely blooms have bunched together, opening toward my window. They are showing off, as though they are saying to me, “We are turned toward you because we know you enjoy looking at us. We can see you smiling, and we like you too.”

            It’s nice to know that roses can read my mind. I can read theirs too. They are saying, “We have bloomed for you, now bring us some food and water!” I promised them I would in a few minutes.

            Our dear Rosie the rosebush is not lonely. Dean and I placed a piece of driftwood behind her, and she has slowly embraced the driftwood. I call him Danny. You know, Danny Driftwood. The two of them make a nice pair.

            Nearby stands an angel Dean placed in the middle of the birdbath. I reckon that is as good a place as any for an angel. I have an idea angels can stand most anywhere they wish.

            Angie, that’s the angel, is standing guard over the hummingbird feeders. We have two, both filled with sweet red water. We have had only two hummingbirds come by this summer.

            Funny thing is the two birds fight to control the same feeder. Each could have his own feeder, but instead they prefer to fight. That’s a lot like human beings.

            If I listen intently I can hear Angie the Angel laughing and saying, “Preacher, you may need to reconsider that evolution theory; perhaps your ancestors really were birds after all.”

            I laugh in return and reply, “Dream on, Angie, dream on; it will take more than two hummingbirds to make me give up on the creation story!”

            Angie smiled and said, “I know, you stubborn old man.” We understand each other, the angel and I. She calls me “Old Wally.” I don’t mind; I am old.

            In this same corner outside my window is a lovely tree my wife calls “the Popcorn Tree.” I am sure it has a more sophisticated name, but who cares? Popcorn Tree was good enough for my mama, and now my wife, so it is good enough for me too.

            Soon its beauty will rival that of the white roses as Angie, Pete, and I look on in awe. Pete, you must have guessed, is the name of the Popcorn Tree.

            Pete can hardly wait to dazzle us all with his gorgeous white flowers this fall. He too is a showoff. But that is really not a bad thing for flowers now, is it?

            Under the shade tree I see our swing, freshly painted, forest green I think. A swing is a wonderful invention. Not as important, mind you, as the mute button, but still high on the list of wonderful things.

            My wife loves the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. One of her favorites is the one about “How I love to go up in a swing.” I love to hear her recite that poem because it brings out the child in her and I enjoy seeing that.

            Actually Stevenson has hooked me. I cannot look at a swing, anywhere, anytime, without thinking of his charming poem about the swing, and how much my wife loves all three – the poem, the swing, and the poet.

            There are many other things which I enjoy outside my study window. But I hear the swing beckoning me now. So please excuse me. I must find Dean. I will invite her to go up in the swing with Old Wally.

            We will swing for awhile, and for a few golden moments we will not think about the stock market or any of our aches and pains. Swinging does wonders for old folks.  

            Oh, you must have guessed by now – the swing’s name is Sammy. He enjoys Rosie and Pete too. I can tell by the way he laughs when he swings us high up in the air. He knows that we enjoy being children again.