2002-07-14 18:31:35 (UTC)

Domestic Chores and Small Comforts

I'll need to start working on emptying the big freezer in
the garage so we'll have room for the half-beef we've
ordered. John bought it from Karen, one of his co-workers
at the mill. I know Karen and I know that steer was just
plum spoiled because that's how she is. When she tells us
it was grain fed most of its life I believe it. Now Karen,
softhearted as she is with her animals (she buys her two
horses a 25 pound bag of carrots every week), can be a real
bear while she's riled. I've heard stories about her
tangles with school administrators when they've tried to
placate her instead of fixing a problem; she lets them know
what's what to the point of calling in the press. My kind
of Mom!

Last night, shortly after John arrived at work, he called
and told me that Karen and her husband had been in a car
accident in Eugene earlier that day. No one was hurt, but
her truck was badly damaged. It seems this 19 year old kid,
driving a car behind the car following her truck, didn't
stop at a red light. He plowed in the car behind hers which
caused that car to hit her truck. A bunch of passengers in
the car that ran the light took off running but the driver
stuck around. His reaction to Karen's being upset was "Gee,
what's your problem lady?"

Now Karen's husband is a guard at the state prison. This
guy is 6 ft, 5 inches tall and BIG. Really BIG and mean
looking too. He's not really mean, he's a pussy cat, but
you wouldn't know that by looking at him. (Once, when he
heard some strange noise in the middle of the night, he woke
Karen up and asked HER to see what it was instead of
checking himself.) He had to hold Karen back from going
after this kid. She was incensed at his attitude and wanted
to pummel him. The cops showed up and one told Karen that
he'd give the kid a ticket if she insisted. She insisted.
The ticket was for over $300.

*Did he have insurance?* I asked John. *Yeah, but the papers
were made out to someone named Madge.* *Not the kid's name,
I guess, huh?* I asked. *Nooo... I don't think so.*
John's advice to Karen was *Don't go to Eugene*. Eugene is
known as the Anarchist Capital of the World and it deserves
the title, especially when you see how many drivers go
through red lights. When the light ahead turns yellow the
first thing a wise driver in Eugene does before he hits his
brakes is to check his rear view mirror to see what the
driver right behind him is doing and how close he is. It's
not at all unusual to see two or even three vehicles go
through a red light as if it were still green. I don't see
that in Albany or Corvallis. Sheesh, I don't even see that
in Salem or even Portland. Just in Eugene.

Today's quote

Little tatters of wind shook water down on
me, like a woman sprinkling clothes to iron.

is from Rural Free: A Farmwife's Almanac of Country Living
by Rachel Peden. I found this book (a signed copy!) in a
used bookstore for $1 and had no idea what a treasure I had
until I brought it home and began reading it. We had just
moved to town and I was still having trouble adjusting so I
couldn't read much of it without starting to cry. I was
still homesick for the country house, you see. It's been
three years and I'm still homesick for it but I know that
once all the boys are finished with university we'll be able
to rebuild and then move back. Anyway, I can always go and
spend a few hours in the garden or the orchard or sit under
the willow tree in the front yard whenever I want.

This book though really speaks to me.

The year begins when school begins. Then the big
orange-colored school bus scurries like a beetle
along all the country roads, pauses long enough to gulp down
the children, and is gone.

reminded me of when the boys were small and I'd watch the
four of them, carrying their books and lunches, walking down
the tree-lined gravel driveway down to the mailboxes as the
school bus lumbered down the road, still more than a mile

She writes about chickens too. I miss my chickens. We had
Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons. On summer evenings,
right before twilight, after putting four tired little boys
to bed and giving the kitchen a final clean-up, I'd go out
to the chicken yard and listen to their soft cluckings
before they went in to roost for the night. There's no
sound more soothing to me that hearing the soft clucking of
chickens. I'd swear they were singing.

P.S. Friday Five I never did get a notification. Did I
get unsubscribed from the notify list? Did I accidently
delete it? Nope. I just went and checked
and found

sorry about that - no friday five for the week
of july 12 - we were on vacation and i spaced on
it. there will be one next week!