On the downhill slide after my birthday, a busy day of phone calls, a trip to the Big City and the usual:laundry, varmints which includes a pesky mole determined to undermine prime cabbage and garden fine tuning, it's returned to subnormal here in Kickapoo Center.
The area is experiencing a Seattle Rain-slow and steady without the need of umbrella or protection. The golf course, as Titus once described this place, has turned to rough in two days of drizzle. The cabbage plant wilted from mole tunneling now stands straight and tall, eager to jump out of the soil. I've eaten spinach for breakfast lunch and dinner. The Pooch comes in from the rain. He announces his entry just like his morning greeting- a single, monosyllabic high pitched yow without the me attached to it. I can leave the back door open for him in rainy weather because the flies and mosquitoes don't fly in the rain. I dry him off with a white terry cloth towel from Sam's Club. He slept on the red shag area rug in the upstairs bathroom last night. Dawn says she thinks he likes the rug because it's cooler than our bed. He waits until 6:00 before jumping on the bed to nuzzle and lick me. He one smart cat. Once he gets me out of bed, the next task is to get me to fix breakfast for him. He sits under the arbor vitae tree at the corner of the deck. While my spinach omelet is fluffing in the cast iron skillet, I chop raw chicken gizzards for him. Then, I open the kitchen window,"Pooch, your breakfast is ready." I see him scamper from under the tree and onto the sidewalk between the house and the privet hedge. It takes him awhile to get back inside because there are mandatory stops along the way to sniff and prod bugs, rub against the open door marking it as Pooch territory and thinking again about knocking something over in the entrance way just for fun.
Without the distraction of cable TV, I read. You could say I'm a rabid reader. Wisconsin Public radio has a noontime segment called, A Chapter a Day." I catch a brief segment working in the garage. I was WPRdeprived for weeks when the plug on the radio broke. The host is reading excerpts fromDriftless by David Rhodes. As the name implies, the novel is set in this area called the Driftless Region since the southwest heel of Wisconsin is missed by glaciers during the ice age. Hence, no drift of gravel, sand, eskers or moraines. Just coulees and steep hills. The eighty-some year old head librarian in the small town six miles south is a pistol and a fount of energy. When I suggested ordering the book last week, she goes to her computer and looks up the title and author. In order to cut shipping costs, she also orders Alexander McCall Smith's latest book about Botswana, the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and Precious Ramotswe called Tea Time For The Traditionally Built.
I wonder if the "after birthday let-down" causes me to well up when I read the jacket notes about Driftless. David Rhodes is an up and coming author with three published works. Then he is paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in 1977. Driftless takes ten years to write. I imagine the other twenty years an uphill struggle after the accident. I read the prologue. The setting for the novel is a small town called Words. It could be anyone one of the small towns in the tri-county area-Liberty, Esofea, Beaches Corners, Avalanche, Cataract, or Seneca. I'm jealous of his success . At the same time I know the dedication and determination it takes to publish.
I'm making a list for a trip to the bank, Wal-Mart and the hardware store. The only reason I shop Wal-Mart is that I'm cheap and poor. That's the reason most everyone in the area, old retired people, dirt poor farmers, young married couples working for $6.75 an hour- the bottom feeders in rural America. I dress up going to Wal-Mart. That means I wear clean blue jeans and a shirt without an offensive slogan. Only the Amish are better dressed than me in Wal-Mart. A secondary reason to look "decent" is that many of the employees are friends from the time I worked in the dairy department. A 15 minute shopping list takes an hour. Conversation to catch up rules. I also have a mental list of tasks I want to complete. I briefly consider blowing off another segment of Kickapoo Center Follies.
There are many things the readers of this blog are unaware and lacking in information. The structure of a blog inhibits details and descriptive elements. I censor everything. One flash I have eating breakfast is to go back to self publishing. It goes to the same place as the segment called, Allo, Allo Is Anyone There ?- a tribute to the foibles and inadequacies of Allopathic medicine. The time and expense of sending out paper copies is a big deterrent. Other segments I've stifled: Unlax- Bugs Bunny in the country. Rosie and Rainbow, a segment from the Hippie years living across the road from a 100 member commune. Penelope subtitled Penny-elope, the true story of marrying a Prima Donna high school cheerleader, I Wish My Sister Was My Mother a character substitution in which my mystic and crazy step mother is replaced by her daughter- a carbon copy in everything except the craziness. No, I am not psycho-neurotic. My step sister could have saved me amazing amounts of childhood terror. I should follow Navajo restriction and never mention my step mother now that's she's gone. Who could forget my hard working saint of a step-Dad standing in the kitchen telling her she's "full of !@#$." Matthew if you're reading this, you have no idea how your phone call on my birthday hit a deep note telling me, your step Dad, how much you loved me. My left eye twitches. I have to blink several times to see the monitor.
I've temporarily lost contact with the outside world. The Pooch has visited and disappeared out the back door, making sure his Pork Chop is still here. He needs dry food and I need to pick up a bag of compost for Dawn's upside down tomato planters for the retirement home. The picture you ask? The number in the center was my auction number for the recent Amish Quilt auction last weekend. I mention this as a way of nudging karmic balance. Let me explain, briefly.
Dawn is on-call for emergencies at the retirement home on a rotating basis. She was on-call last weekend. Two emergencies pop up in the middle of the auction. Then dark menacing clouds bring rain in the fore noon. I attempt to bid on a Titus quilt. I raise my hand to bid when the price seems to flatten out at $180. The auctioneer and his Amish helpers don't see my raised hand because the bobble head in front of me jumps up and down to allow a dip-stick in the same row to graze for coffee or doughnuts or pie, whatever? Yesterday, I drive to their farm for eggs. Titus tells me a woman from West Allis named Sandy walks off with $500 worth of merchandise without paying. The phone number she gives is phony. The Amish are too trusting and don't verify driver's licenses, addresses:basic information. So Sandy in West Allis watch out for the cosmic slap. You defrauded simple people raising money for their non-profit school in an intentional way. May the slap be hard and painful. I volunteer to check driver's licenses of those not familiar to the Amish. I quip, "I'll also do blood tests."