Saturday, May 14, 2011

Crab-apple in the east
It's not like driving my mother's old 1960 Pontiac down highway 141 on the way to work.

The trip takes, total time, 60 minutes.  I have tons of time to think.  I keep a notebook on the bench seat next to me.  This is when I learned to drive with my knee. I pass a hitch hiking black woman with a suitcase and a child on the gravel shoulder .  My gaping mouth didn't close until I was well past them.  For the rest of the journey, I  castigated myself for not stopping.  It would have been dangerous for myself and them, I rationalize.  Besides, I don't need anymore crazy. I teach in the heart of the inner city, the place where one of my comrades in arms, the gym teacher, tells my girl friend, also a fellow teacher, "Honey I'd like to see what's under that dress."

Or when I got bored and turned on the radio.The speaker says, "What would you say if you met God in the dark?"  Without thinking I yell back at the radio, "Jesus Christ, you scared me."

I could describe the past few days as a roller coaster without the drooling hurl afterward, but that wouldn't catch the feeling.  It wouldn't be the merry-go-round, because I ain't crazy enough to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? Or, wait?  Tunnel of love?  Ferris wheel?  That's it.  Forever stuck on the top wishing this ride would be over.

I am stunned to see thermometers on the north side of the house read 92 degrees.  In disbelief, I check the one  in the breezeway. I purchased the cheap plastic gauge half asleep. I didn't notice the readings didn't extend below zero.  That will not do do for us'n just below the arctic circle and I purchase another more expensive one, bad mouthing the first manufacturer.  In the cool shade of the house and garage, it says 88 degrees

Mind you I'm not complaining.  I'm squeaky clean because the heat requires two showers a day.  The unused downstairs shower gets a work out and I don't worry about the trap drying up from lack of use. There's no end of work, so maybe I can lose the 30 pounds around my gut.  Riding in Jorge's limo with air conditioning and, get this, air conditioned seats, I feel like the emperor of Kickapoo Center. The a/c in my old Chevy quit two years ago.  To prevent the clock from recycling the time every 10 minutes and running down the battery, I disconnect the fuse which also kills the radio and dome lights.

Literally, plants shoot from the earth.  Grass grows two inches a day. Thunderstorms which cause my dog to hide under my desk add unneeded nitrogen to rainfall giving the downpour a formula for fertilizer close to my organic composted poultry manure. The river rises to the top of it's banks.

Man stops by to purchase onion sets.  He knows his potatoes and puts the fear of Spud, the patron saint of potatoes in me when he says planting your own seed potatoes is a chancy deal.  I think back to russets purchased at the Village Market years ago.  They were full of leggy sprouts, useless for dinner. So, I planted them.  That was when we had a  just one, teeny tiny 25'X50' garden behind the house. The crop that year- forgetful.  The solution.  Buy seed potatoes.

I race to town with Mandy riding shotgun for protection from eight wheel monster earth machines crawling down the highways looking for soil to till and crops to plant.  Cars form a long line behind the behemoth with batwing plows that extend up in the air. At the agri-center, seed potatoes are on sale.  I fill a kraft bag with 16.29 lbs of kennebecs.  The next day a coupon for $5 arrives in the mail thanking me for my patronage from the friendly folks at the agri-center. Dawn fills another kraft bag.

I find a box of seed potatoes in the summer kitchen.  I'm humming ,"Will the circle be unbroken, bye and bye now, bye and bye."  Headlines read,
Local man crushed when mountain of potatoes escapes overturned bin      

At night I get up and walk the upstairs hallway to fool the leg cramps into thinking that I'm going to work in the front field.

The first day of the heat wave catches me by surprise.  It's 85 on the second floor.  Refusing to turn on the central air this early in the season, I smash my fingers a half dozen times in the storm/screen combo windows we haven't replaced with new, vinyl ones.  I can't remember which way the switch goes on the ceiling fans. Is it up for winter or down?  I sleep without a blanket, tossing fitfully all night.  

I think I'll I'll go stare out the kitchen window at the intermittent rain falling.  I'll walk around the bed cabbage and broccoli I carefully mulched ala the new Lasagne Garden Method with layers of cardboard, compost and soil to keep the cardboard from blowing away in tornado winds, a stake beside each plant with hopes of driving it through the heart of aspiring moles who tunnel under my babies. With temperature just over 40 this morning, I'll zip up my hooded sweatshirt.  I'll watch the grass grow to a foot in the backyard, the part I couldn't mow when the sky opened up just enough to wet the grass  and force me indoors to watch with disbelief an onion customer back over my mailbox.  He looked like the devil. You should have seen the dent in the tailgate of his truck.  It is Friday the 13th.  
Two Lovers in the backyard

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