Mom says I'm the worst peeping tom in the world. Every morning I roll up the blind on my bedroom window and search for the first bird I can find -- any kind of bird -- in the winter, maybe a red-headed woodpecker, a robin in the spring, a junco in late fall. If I'm lucky, I'll spy a blue heron or a bald eagle down by the river.
So yes, I like to look for peepers, but that's not what she means. She's referring to the first morning I watched old Mrs. Moon. It's not her real name. I call her that because she wears a dress when she works in her garden. She leans way over to pick green beans or strawberries or whatever, and when she does, well, let me just say she often forgets to wear underwear.
One morning, looking for my bird, I saw a flash in Mrs. Moon's second story window. I turned my binoculars and found her spectacles reflecting the sunrise. At first I thought she was watching me. Then I realized she was looking down and over, toward the river. I followed her gaze.
Running through the bushes were Mr. and Mrs. Bentley, our other neighbors, playing hide-and-seek, shouting and laughing. They must have left Johnny asleep in his crib. I glanced at my clock. I guess they figured it was safe to run around naked at six-zero-zero.
When I told Mom what I had seen, she smiled and said, "Don't tell your father." I'm sure Dad wouldn't want to go swimming that early.
They do it almost every morning. Mrs. Moon watches, like a lifeguard. When it's cold or rainy, they rush back and hop into their hot tub and I think I see steam on Mrs. Moon's glasses.
I see other things, too, things I'm not supposed to mention. Farmer Donald lets his bull loose on the other side of the river every fall, and in the summer Mrs. Moon's granddaughter comes to visit for a couple weeks. My brother, Joe, looks forward to that. They're teenagers, but they still like to play in the treehouse they say the old lady's forgotten. Too bad, because they scare away all the birds.
The Bowman Women; A Work In Progress
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