© Another Day in the Country
It’s been 15 years, now, that I’ve been writing Another Day in the Country. That’s a long time to be having this conversation.
Yes, I know it is pretty much a one-sided conversation that we’re having, since I’m doing the talking and you’re doing the listening; but that isn’t all that different from many conversations we have with most people.
After all this divulging of information about my life and how I feel on any given subject, you probably think \ you know me pretty well. And you do!
What you probably never thought of is that I also think I know you. I think that the human experience is pretty much the same for all of us and that — even if we don’t speak the same language or live in the same neck of the woods — we have a lot of things in common. That is what keeps me talking to you.
Sometimes it startles me when I realize how much I’ve divulged about my life to you week after week.
As I said, I take that risk because I feel like I know you, even though I haven’t ever looked most of you in the eye. And I do know that if we didn’t resonate on some level, you would have stopped reading this column a long time ago
I’ve had a lot of company recently. Prairie Schooner Cruise Line was operating at full tilt. Jess made me a list of menus that I was to choreograph, and I was so busy with all the relatives and guests coming and going that I didn’t look at the list even once. I didn’t have time.
After everyone was gone, I climbed on a lawnmower and started mowing the acres of grass we’re responsible for. It was all I had the energy to do. I could sit. I could steer the mower. I didn’t have the energy to empty the dishwasher, put away all that extra silverware, store those heavy plates on the top shelf, or change the sheets. I was poo-poo-pa-doed, and all I could do was mow grass.
Mowing grass is a rejuvenating thing for our family. I think it is genetic. When my dad could barely walk, Jess helped him get on the mower and watched as if she were the anxious parent, fearful he might teeter off the seat, while he mowed the lawn — as it turned out, for the very last time, there on the farm.
He was so gratified to have done that — even though he couldn’t have done it without Jess — and when he was finished, he beamed, “I did it!”
That’s what I did yesterday. I mowed like a hellion until I’d exhausted the gas in the tank and toppled off the seat and into a tub to clean up. My sister kept mowing until the task was completed.
“My phone said we were going to have more rain tomorrow,” Jess said as she gave me the report of our hay-cutting project.
I just sat down in the back yard and reveled in the sunshine and the smell of cut grass, which still lingered in the air. There are four billion, nine hundred ninety-nine million, three hundred forty-seven thousand weeds growing in all the gardens and flower beds. The weeds have loved the rain even more than the veggies.
“How will I get them all out?” I ask myself.
I’ve given the tomatoes and the cabbage a head start, like the Almighty giving the good folk a helping hand so that they aren’t annihilated by the evil hordes.
I can imagine a Supreme Commander looking down on all of us in the garden (of good and evil) saying, “C’mon kiddo, it’s another day in the country and what are you gonna do with it? Remember, it’s a gift!”