If you are anything at all like me, when the forecast calls for high temperatures in the 70s, you jump on the tractor and go dig snow.
You know, just to help things along a little bit. We’re going to be fishing again in 18 days.
The thaw is on and what once seemed improbable is now inevitable, as streams and buds swell with equal vigor.
Our village’s road crew has been working hard to keep up with the mud and you can drive our road, if you want, but we wish you really wouldn’t, especially if you are that group from New Jersey who came up this weekend, ten people in seven cars, and somehow found reasons to drive up and down the hill three or four times each day. It is almost as if you want to be laughed at.
The locals can mess up the roads just fine on their own, thank you very much. Throw in our Rural Mail Carrier, the UPS guy and the fuel oil deliveries, on top of the tractors, sap tanks and guys just trying to get to work and the road turns to soup even without four Lexuses, two Hondas and a Saturn spinning past every two hours. When the folks who live here go out they make sure the trip is worthwhile. None of this popping out for a quart of milk nonsense.
I needed a quart of milk today — and some cheese and some beer — but, in order to justify the trip, I also took a bag of garbage and a bunch of recyclables to the transfer station. I also loaded up six dollars worth of returnable beer bottles and made a small list for the hardware store. If I have to drive through a mile and a half of muddy slop, just to reach pavement, I’m going to make the trip worthwhile!
As it turns out, this trip was worthwhile, even if I had only been after the milk, for I had an encounter with a very important man. He was backing out of his space at the IGA as I pulled into the parking lot and it was only due to my lightning-fast reflexes and years of driving experience that I was able to apply the brakes in time to stop 50 feet short of his driver’s side door. He appeared to be in his 60s, well dressed and talking on the phone, and I waited patiently while he sat there, blocking the road and yakking away. A gentle toot of my horn got his attention and he continued to talk as he completed his maneuver, eventually getting turned the right way and headed for the exit. As he passed by on my left, I made eye contact and mouthed the words, “Get off the phone.”
I pulled into an open space, got out of the truck and began sauntering across the lot. Halfway to the door, a screeching noise to my left caught my attention and I turned to see what it was.
It was the man who had been on the phone.
“Hey, you flannel-wearing long-hair, I’m talking to you!”
Nine other flannel-wearing long-hairs turned around but it was obvious the man was talking to me.
“F*** you!” he shrieked.
His car was idling in the middle of the travel lane, its driver’s side door open, and the man was bouncing, hopping and sputtering next to it. Somehow, he reminded me of a weasel and the last time I ran into a weasel things didn’t quite go the way the weasel had anticipated. In an attempt to avoid similar unpleasantness, right there in front of my friends and neighbors, I simply stood and stared.
“F*** you!” the man shrieked again. “F***youf***youf***you! I’ll talk on my f***ing phone any f***ing time I want! Who the f*** do you f***ing think you are, telling me to f***ing get off the f***ing phone?”
I was joined in my standing and staring by a couple dozen other perplexed people while the well-dressed man careened down the path toward apoplexy. He wasn’t a good or creative cusser, limited as he was to words that begin with “f”, but he earned raves from the crowd for his enthusiasm, especially when he advanced toward me like he was going to take me on.
I almost flinched and I thought about preparing to take a beating I might even feel but the man stopped short. Looking around at the assortment of spectators that had gathered, he shook his fists at the sky and screamed, “F*** you backward people! Nobody f***ing tells me to get off the f***ing phone! I will talk on the phone when I f***ing want to! I AM F***ING IMPORTANT!”
With that he got in his car and was gone in a cloud of dust, bony middle digit extended, roaring onto Main Street and into the path of an oncoming State Trooper who immediately lit him up.
Who says nothing ever happens around here?