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I've named my garden! Maybe it's because I love Agatha Christie mysteries—where there's always a gardener or two lurking about, and all the homes have quaint names and gorgeous borders. Or maybe when I spent most of 2009 immersed in baby-name books, I hardwired my brain to name things. Whatever the reason, I've wanted to give our home/garden a name for quite some time, and I've finally settled on one . . .


Last Oak.

The dominant feature of our front yard (besides our house, which sits just 15 feet from the sidewalk) is a beautiful old oak tree. I always thought it should play some part in the name of the garden, but couldn't quite figure how. Originally I came up with Acorn Hollow, because our house/yard is sort of pocketed into a ridge. I tried Acorn Hollow out on my sister, who replied, "Isn't that where the Woodsies lived?" The Woodsies being a family of finger-puppet squirrels we played with when we were little. OK, scratch that.

Finally, last weekend out of the blue "Last Oak" popped into my mind. The perfect name, and the obvious choice now that it has actually occurred to me. See, there used to be two similarly large, old oak trees right across the street, but they were cut down last year. So now our oak is the last oak on the street—at least as far as you can see from here.

Which reminds me, I'd like to mention what else you can see from Last Oak: A gas station/convenience store/Dunkin Donuts. The back of a restaurant and its parking lot. A lot of cars and trucks going by. Telephone poles and wires. If you crane your neck a little, or take a few steps past our driveway, you can see a Meineke. You can almost always hear them working on cars.

You get the point. It's a nice neighborhood, full of lovely people, but not quite the type of place where the homes and gardens have names. Oh yeah, and our house is 1,000 square feet.

So am I totally pretentious? Am I really flippant? I swear I'm neither! I just wanted to give this place a name, a homey name so when I'm very old I can say something like "Ah, what happy times we had at Last Oak." Sort of like the opening line of Rebecca, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again"—except without the psycho housekeeper, etc.

What does John think of all this? He agreed it's a nice, logical name. He also, a few hours later, announced out of nowhere, "I like my beef brisket messy, on dirty rice; or just on bread, like a sandwich." The poor guy. There will never be beef brisket coming out of the kitchen at Last Oak, and he knows this.

I guess we both like to daydream, and that's what makes these happy days.