Friday, February 25, 2011

Clever Words

Our cat,aptly named the Pooch because of dog-like tendencies, walks across me at 2:30am.  This is not usual. Usual is snugging up to his pork chop(me) purring loudly, content to sleep on, or next to me.  Something is wrong downstairs.  Mandy is asleep in the futon room.  I can hear her toenails click on the wood steps as I walk downstairs in a fleece robe Dawn made for me.

I let the dog out, take a pee, drink some water and walk about the house looking for a dead mouse or  worse. Earlier in the day, Mandy barks loudly in the entrance-way.  Mandy rarely barks, except in warning or to annoy a bird to fall from a tree in desperation to get away from the noise.When the UPS driver delivers a package inside the breezeway door, she leaps from the couch, runs to the back door without a murmur. When I investigate her arousal, I see what looks like a dog or coyote across the river over 300 yards away. Good girl.  Nice work Mandy.

But the Pooch?  Nothing is out of order, except that I'd left the cat's food out of reach of the dog on a kitchen counter. I place it on the floor for the cat. Disappointed in my Poochie Kitty ( a name my youngest called our former dog) I go back upstairs unable to sleep.  I close the door in the east bedroom and open a new book(for me) River Horse by William Least Heat-Moon.  Unlike other books on the shelf next to the bed, I'm not lulled to sleep.  Meandering detective stories, tales of a Yorkshire veterinarian, stories of servants in England made into a PBS series and The Count de Monte Cristo original translation lead to snores at 3 am.

William Least Heat Moon writes of a journey across America by boat.

"In river travel today, perhaps nothing is finer than arrival in the center of town without having to undergo those purgatorial miles of vile sprawl, hideous billboards, and reiterated franchises where we become fugitives of the ganged chains in an endless surround of noplaceness, where the shabbiest of architectural detritus washes up against the center of a town."  *

*River Horse, Across America by Boat, William Least Heat Moon copyright 1999 Houghton Mifflin Co.

This man is an amazing writer.  I chortle at quips like, "A collision at sea can ruin your entire day."  I marvel at words wishing I had my dictionary next to me.  On every page is a quotable lesson in life or something I find humorous. Only Bill Bryson can match wits with this man.  In the basement I post a quote of Bryson's,
"You have three things to be thankful for.  You were born. You are alive. Hang a yellow ribbon 'round an old oak tree will never be number one again."
On my office desk there is a pile of short tomes I've written in the past few years.  Originally they were stored in a file cabinet, but the hanging folder grew so large the stories started to curl, the folder sagged and gave way.  Pap and Twaddle, My Dog Saw You Naked, Long Shadows, Lineman Bob's Safety Corner , Horse Stories and a Favorite of mine-Clever Words bring Forth No Buttered Turnips.
There's a point I'm getting to and it's not going to be more whining or self promotion.  Bear with me.

A few weeks ago I 'm at the end of my rope of patience with winter.Tired of rising gas prices, routine, snow, ice and cold. I decide to repaint the basement in a works progress project for me. It's not like I have nothing to do. There's nothing I feel like doing.  Winter torpor.

Then, after I start the process of removing accumulated junk and reorganizing the basement, Murphy's Law assumes monumental proportions.  The opportunity to butcher and put up a year's supply of pork arises.  Next, I realize I've let my business slide.  There's a  minimum of fifteen cases of Czech glass beads stored in the barn, leftover from our brick and mortar days of running a modern day trading post. I need to get them on our website.  The transition librarian asks me to assist the library director in culling old books from the stacks- a minimum of a month's work at three hours per day.  The freshman governor of our state makes headlines around the country.  I Google his name and find that after four years and 96 credits at Marquette University, he drops out. More research and in an October article by Steve Schultze in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel,he writes of a $30 million dollar possible hole the Milwaukee County budget under former county executive(now Governor) Scott Walker. In the article a proposal is mentioned about a possibly illegal move to cut  pensions.

Oh, so many snowbirds and so little freezer space. ( A quote on a bumper sticker in Phoenix).

But, clever words bring forth no buttered turnips.  I have less than two hours to put the final coat of paint on the basement floor.   

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