The end of summer. It’s been a real summer, but I never once used the hammock. When my daughter and her friend were visiting, I looked for the hammock — in the breezeway, in the garage — but couldn’t find it. Yesterday, walking up the hill towards our house, with an almost autumnal wind blowing in from the east, over a fence in somebody’s else’s backyard I saw…a hammock. Not just any hammock, but the exact same one. My hammock?!
Who steals a hammock? And how? I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw it, but feel sure I packed it up last summer (or was it the one before?) and tucked it in its special carrying case into the garage with window screens, folding chairs and that fifties windmill piece of yard art we need to repair someday. But maybe I’d never put it away at all. We came and went so much last year, I lose track. I know we had a hammock. Now here it was.
I stood there for a minute staring at the hammock. It had to be ours! It was faded to the exact same colors. This was a special hammock too, not just any one you could buy at Walmart. The audacity was stunning. Our hammock, in their yard, in broad daylight.
Right, I thought. Mama needs one ride in a hammock this summer (I never actually referred to myself this way but felt deep in my bones that I was in a Netflix series). I made a vow to liberate our hammock from this trashy backyard and put it where it belongs, in our trashy backyard. I pictured me and Eric parking the truck alongside this yard late at night and just shoving the whole thing in the back.
But first, how about I appear at these people’s front door doing a customer service satisfaction survey: “Hello, we’re following up with folks who purchased our hammocks —I just need to see your receipt and then you’ll be eligible to win a weekend getaway at Lake George…”
Maybe offer a hammock laundering service — it hurt a few summers back when my young goddaughter Daisy climbed into the hammock with me and said “Eww, it smells sort of…musty.” (She’s English and her observations can be a little pointed: “They seem to know you quite well in there” she remarked after she came into Catskill Liquors with me to buy a bottle of wine.) Anyways, I scrubbed the hammock fabric with lavender detergent and tried to bring it in when it rained but—but I could tell these people we do a cleaning service and just… never bring the hammock back?
Oh why didn’t we build a fence around the backyard? I thought it was just deer we needed to keep out.
But who steals a hammock?
I could tell the people I’m starting a hammock appreciation club and we’re going to meet at our local cafe once a month to share stories of hammock life. The first meeting, we go around the circle and everyone tell how you got your hammock. “Mine was a Christmas gift from my brother and his wife,” I’ll say, a little misty, my eyes gleaming, boring a hole of honesty into the thief’s brain. “I’d never had a hammock of my own before…” When it came to be their turn, they’d collapse on the floor weeping, and confess.
I’ve got to get that hammock back. Let me just clear these bags of stuff out of the back of the truck and shove them in the garage so we have space to load the hammock in.
Wait. What’s this zippered black case filled with metal poles and slightly musty but lavender-scented striped fabric?
Oh good – they felt guilty and put it back.
If you want me, I’ll be in my hammock.