Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dialing for Doughnuts

They're as big as the balloon tires on one of those monster trucks that jump twelve auto wrecks lined up in a row. Light and airy I wonder how they could be fried and reach this size. Dawn asks,"How does she make that glaze?". They cost fifty cents each. I buy a half dozen.

The prospect of early morning temperatures on Sunday in the 30's has me scrambling for covers for the tomatoes and, duh, Jalapeno peppers I planted in a moment of garden senility. I rationalize. Oh, so what if they don't make it. I'm out $1.89. That's less than I spend for a Cajun turkey sandwich at the Cheese Corner in Verruca.

I reach enlightenment thinking of the town dump. It's Saturday. The dump is open until 2 pm. There's a dumpster for #1 and #2 recycled plastic. On my first dive I come up with ten plastic water and milk half gallons tied together with a string the dump angel leaves me. Before dusk, I cut the bottoms off the milk and water jugs and scour the house for 28 plastic containers for my tomatoes. The peppers are tall and rangy. They need 7 inches of clearance. The tomatoes are babies and hug the ground. Before covering the tomatoes I grab a wooden spoon and drop a dollop of bone meal next to each plant. On our afternoon walk the Pooch heads right for the bone meal. Oh, oh. Another garden goof. How many wild animals will be lapping up the calcium in that bone meal? After I cover the tomatoes, I add insurance they'll be alive in the morning. My first thought is to load the .22 and sit next to the telephone interface waiting for varmints. Momentary madness subsides. I think about a magazine article that describes a current trend for crazies to swear off their medication. My guess is that they'd rather be baying at the moon then walk around half dead like my friend Mo who stuffed lithium down his craw daily. My recovery leads to throwing potting soil over the bone meal as the plants lie covered in plastic. That will disguise the smell, I hope. I'm buoyed by a simple test. I offer the Pooch a small bowl with a tablespoon of bone meal. He sniffs and walks away.

This morning it's 40 degrees at 7 am. The sky is partly cloudy. I leave the jugs on the peppers. After my lumberjack Sunday morning breakfast of tater tots, eggs and a pork chop, I lay them next to the plants. I'd already had a doughnut-or part of one. Fear of Dawn leads me to eat less than half.

Lat week Titus' brother calls me on my cell. I'd stopped and asked his wife if he could work for me. Two weeks transpire. The second message is on the land line I never answer. He sounds agitated. I hop in my car before breakfast Saturday morning hoping to track him down. First, I stop at Titus' farm. The 'girls' are cleaning. Titus is at the neighbors. I drive the half mile back down the highway from Shady Lane to Hal's place. There's a car with Illinois plates in the drive and a crowd around the kitchen table. Hal's two brothers are up from Chicago. They are hunting for turkeys. Three Italian brothers and a loud Italian wife add ten decibels to the conversation. I'm there to learn about the Amish telephone network. Titus calls me frequently on Hal's cell phone. I ask about his brother, Hal's cell phone and how to reach Aaron. Hal will deliver messages, he says. Titus is rather philosophic about his youngest brother. Once, previously, when I mentioned being late for an appointment with Aaron, Titus quips, " If we see him running down the highway towards Hal's house, then we know we're really late."

Titus leaves to help the Italian brothers clean the wild turkey one of them shot in the butt. The remaining brother at the kitchen table says, "I hope there's some meat left on the carcass. You're supposed to shoot a turkey in the head and not the butt." One of the brothers is a cop in a small town. He tells me he's a police officer. I note the distinction. Hal's wife who's never too shy to one-up a conversation, remarks, "In a family of nine brothers not one of them ever broke a bone!" Not to be outdone the police officer tells of twenty two injuries including a broken nose suffered while in the line of duty. Hal ups the ante with multiple hernias. Hal's wife sits there smugly in her wheelchair. She's missing part of her right leg. She fell the other day and is injured while being helped to her feet. She's the Queen of Hurt and nothing needs to be said. I'm still puzzled about the Amish telephone network.

I drive over to Aaron's house with a quick set of instructions how to reach me. I'm bothered that I manage to miss two calls. The law of opposites says that the call on the cell phone comes when I'm charging the battery. The call on the land line is when I'm in the bathroom and can't hear the answering machine. Oh well, I've got all summer to split the rest of the firewood. When I pull up in the driveway, a plain white sign with black letters says, Doughnuts on sale today. Normally, I'm met at the door. The wife will open it a crack while two blond preschool boys peer out from behind her skirt. I feel like I'm the Area Slasher looking for my next victim. It's a turnabout from the "Come on in" I hear when I knock at Titus' front door.

I gasp when she tells me to come in. The two blond boys giggle and let me in. They sit on the couch poking each other while I watch the wife glazing doughnuts. She's friendly and more than helpful to get me connected with Aaron. She tells me that her husband is at the neighbors. When she mentions the name, it's unfamiliar until she adds the last name and the title, furniture maker. He lives just down the lane from Titus. I request a half dozen doughnuts and hand her a ten dollar bill. Twenty-five minutes later, she hands me three singles and four dollars in change she's carefully scrounged from jars in two cupboards. I must be the first customer of the day. As I'm leaving a well dressed English woman comes in.

I find Aaron at the home of the log furniture maker. He's standing outside the shop talking to a short blond man in his 20's who identifies himself as brother to the furniture maker. "Would you like to take a look at the furniture?" he asks. I'm impressed with the fresh pine log swing set in front of the building. My, "nice furniture" comment brings an invitation for business. The swing set could hold three bears and a gorilla, if they were friends. Inside are twenty swivel bar stools, simple plain white pine dressers and cabinets and on the far side of the red pole shed is a red cedar chest with an open lid. It has a fancy, non finger crushing safety hinge.

I arrange possible days and times to work with Aaron. I return home an hour later, happy with my doughnuts. In the country an Amish phone call is really time consuming.

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