It never fails…in last week's column I predicted that there'd be a terrific harvest and it’d come off early and everything and then lo and behold we get more than an inch of rain! And frost! But it's not my fault! At least I am not going to take the credit for it, or blame, I should say. I sure didn’t mean to jinx the harvest or anything.
It was only a short set-back to a very good run anyway, and, besides, back in my day we used to call them "beer clouds". A little R&R was usually in order after going day and night for a few weeks. In the farming business a person tends to burn out a bit during this hectic time of the year so a little "stress release" doesn't hurt too many people too often, when kept within reason, of course. It’s always good to take a breath now and then, get rejuvenated and get back at it with some renewed energy and focus. Weather permitting.
Besides halting a good harvest, the rain turned the grid road that I commute to work on into the world's longest slip-'n-slide. Mud, slip n’ slide, that is. Sidebar here: To the Rural Municipality # “Not To Be Named In a Public Forum”…a little gravel wouldn’t hurt now and then, you know, school children are riding buses that travel that road, too, on a regular basis and it’s dangerous out there, especially after only a ½” of rain makes it nearly impassable. And this is a major grid road! Just saying.
Now, where was I, oh yeah, I'll be perfectly honest with you, I'm not much of a mudder. I just feel so totally out of control slippin' and slidin' all over the road. My ex-brother-in-law’s brother, (you following along?) was a very good friend of mine and we spent a lot of time working on the farm and we had our share of cruisin’ backroads together on many occasions.
His name was Brent and he loved driving in the mud! I recall more than one occasion when we’d be cruising down a sloppy section of road and he’d be steering with his left hand and banging out the drum beat to "Wipeout" on the dashboard with his right hand, with a cigarette between his lips, squinting through the smoke and keeping the car going forward at an 84 degree angle to the road while I sat silently in the passenger seat chain smoking and trying to act all cool and everything and doing my best to show that I wasn’t actually scared to death!
As good as Brent was behind the wheel his brother and my ex-brother-in-law, (you still with me?), Maurice, was better. We did a lot of driving together, too, and there wasn’t a road condition that he drove in that intimidated him. He was always in full control of every vehicle he drove…car, truck, semi, tractor, combine…whatever; if it had tires on it he could drive it anywhere.
I’ve managed to keep my little Dodge Dakota between the ditches, (touch wood), while commuting in all kinds of weather conditions but mud’s the worst. I’ve logged a few million kilometers behind the wheel of various vehicles over the years and have come out unscathed from some close calls and I’m a confident and competent enough driver but whenever I turn onto a muddy road the old butterflies start up and the sphincter gets a little tighter while I put a death-grip on the steering wheel. Damn mud.
Very soon I will not have to worry about slippin’ and slidin’ my way to work on a gravel-less grid road after a few drops of rain because we’ll have a brand new old highway to drive on. It’ll be a few klicks more than my current backroad drive but what I spend extra on gas I will more than make up for with less stress and a lot more carwash cash.
“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers.” – Dave Barry (1947-).