Sunday, March 8, 2009

Ten, Two and Four

We take an impromptu trip to Lacrosse, about 45 minutes away. We need a portable shower hose to attach to the shower head in the first floor bath. The hose will allow us to wash dishes in an old washtub recycled from the basement. The washtub will straddle the bathtub and the water will drain into the tub. When we remove the old kitchen counter, the bathtub will be our temporary dishwasher. I need more pork for hot polish sausage. I don't want to thaw existing ground pork. The grocery store in Lacrosse carries pork loin ends at an inexpensive price.

The real reason for the trip-to get out of the
frickin' house and away from the slate gray skies of winter.

Listening to the radio on the way to and from, we are reminded frequently to spring ahead . In addition to giving an in depth look at the banking crisis, NPR also gives a short history of daylight saving time. I 'm tempted to rant about daylight saving, but I quickly regain my senses. The radio clock in my pick-up truck now reads the correct time , however,the clock in my Prism is one hour slow. All the appliances show the correct time. I have not changed the battery operated kitchen clock in the living room nor the bedside clock, while I decide if I want to join the Amish. The Pooch decided it was time to get up at 2 am (really three am). I ignore him and hide under the quilt. I let him out at 7 am ( really 8 am). A short trip to the village Market to rent a 99 cent DVD and to pick up some ground beef for cabbage rolls was uneventful, but the hardware store is closed. Normally, they close at 4 pm on Sunday. I couldn't tell if we are late or if the store closes early. Darn. Diddely damn, darn. Mother Hubbard darn.

When we left, it was pouring. I do not hear an old man snoring. We call the Pooch in out of slanting sheets of rain from the icy north and hustle out. The sidewalk is slick from rain that froze in marginal freezing temperatures . The picture at left is what it looked like when we got home. I am so confused. I looked at the the battery clock which said it's time for Prairie Home Companion. Then I realized it was actually 6 pm. Then I realized it was Sunday, not Saturday, Darn. Diddely damn, darn. Mother of Jesus darn.

My Amish friends pay slight heed to pronouncements of daylight saving time. Thrifty to a fault, they get up before first light. At night, they fire up a single Coleman lantern. There's a tin pie plate above the lantern at the ceiling which prevents the paint above. I often wondered how Titus got the time to work on cabinets with constant interruptions, field work and chores in the barn. One morning I go to the farm at 8 am to have Titus saw legs for a table of mine. Like a dairy farmer, he had breakfast before dawn's early light and went to the Shady Lane workshop as the sun peeked over the hills. By 8 am, he's put in several hours of work on doors or cabinet framework. After the rain and before the puffy snowflakes, hail pelts the windshield of the car.Dawn keeps a running commentary.The sign for the Culver's Restaurant advertises a walleye basket. "No cooking, no dishes," she says. I remind her of leftovers on all three shelves of the refrigerator. She agrees and decides the safest way home is NOW.

It's happened before.

We stop for lunch before heading home. On the way out of the restaurant, the scene has changed. Like a moody teenager, sun becomes dark, threatening sleet and snow. Driving home will be treacherous and time consuming. Now, as we head east on the US highway,we speculate that the geezer in front of the long line of cars driving 30, 25 then 35 mph, braking frequently in the slush is probably an old man. When he pulls off the highway into the parking lot of Potato Hill restaurant, Dawn exclaims, "He wasn't that old!" The blaze orange hunting hat and gray sideburns says FARMER! The white pines on the south fence line are playing touch with the ground. Several branches have broken and lie in a heap. I'm confused again. It's March isn't it? My first crop of onions won't go in the ground at the third week of March this year.

The hillsides sprout log cabins with green metal roofs. The Amish provide weekend get-aways for city people. On the way to town to get to the closed hardware store, I notice one of the weekenders has given up. Driving up from Madison or Beloit for a pleasant few quiet days and totally dark nights, the weekenders fear being trapped by weather. The old white Cadillac this person drives is gone from the driveway. The red drapes are closed. Back to the womb of city cement.

The bakery on the edge of town as we head home has a sign that tells the winner of the cake-of-the week contest. The other side says FEAR NO DOUGHNUT. It's a family run business with a sense of humor. The Pooch is resting comfortably in his favorite Scandinavian Design chair with the crocheted comforter. Beside him is a note which he hands to me when he meows. I fear no weather. Let me out. I spot him slugging through snow down by the river. On a brief walk, he pokes at the brown slush in a depression at the bottom of the driveway apron. His paw leaves a dark hole. He pokes again to check the depth of this new lake. Satisfied that he isn't in for a quick dip in freezing water, he takes a sip. Mmm. Fresh and cold. Then he wades through the mush.

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