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I wish it were only caffeine. Here in the meadow, we are used to a certain adversity that is just part and parcel (whatever that quaint phrase means) of living in rurality. I mean it’s not like McDonald’s is a block away; in fact, the nearest one is closer to ten miles away.

So it should come as no surprise (indeed I’ve related a sufficient number of nasty meadow incidents thus far) that another “wrath of God”, shitty luck, fate, clash of the Titans, would occur. This one brought me to the brink of a glimpse of insanity.  I do not jest!

I have concluded that I am good for about three catastrophes in a winter, and then I’m done. Prepare the straight jacket, fluff up the padded room, I have a reservation. Let’s go.

It started Sunday with a thoroughly wild-eyed, this must be a roller coaster, ride in and out, traveling to and from church. The melting had created a deep flow of slush that the bronco could barely traverse without much sliding and twisting. It was pretty much gun and go, and hope for the best, as I sailed over dell and over the farmer perhaps too. Have to wait till spring and look for a body.

By Wednesday, it had frozen up again, and the Contrarian went out to get wood, and then check the lane. The first blow landed as he was working to draw another limb free and over to the splitter. It fell in a way not anticipated, and onto the chain saw, bending the bar. End of cutting wood.

So, logically, the Contrarian proceeded to the hill, hopefully to  smooth down the frozen tundra and make a good path to get out to buy a new bar. Perfect confidence is derailed as he discovers that the lane has blown in for about fifty feet or more. He works with great difficulty to get enough traction to get up, and starts pushing it down this side. After about three times, he figures he’s got a good beginning and will finish in the morning.

After much work, he manages to work his way up the hill by going cross country through the meadow and emerging at the gate. He makes his way to the road, and is thinking that he can approach the drifted area easier from the other side. That works until, a tractor tire goes flat.

Now we are tractorless, sawless, and nearly woodless. I am frankly near hysteria here. Thoughts of freezing slowly to death plant themselves firmly in my cerebellum. I babble, I cry, I rant, I curse the gods of nature and consider offering a cat in sacrifice. We have after all, four. Shrug. . . .  well it was a thought, but I discarded it.

Days go by, Thursday afternoon, Friday morning, and I am getting panicky. We are using our few sticks judiciously, and running space heaters. In all actuality, it was quite warm most of the time. But nobody seemed home, and I became convinced that Troy Mills had been wiped from the map by some mysterious alien abduction. (Take me, take me! Please!)

Finally, contact is made with the outside world, but little in the way of help comes with it. I’m all in favor of calling anybody I can think of. (Call the Troy Store and ask them to put a note on their door: “Snow removal needed immediately! with phone number.) Later the Contrarian confesses that such a thing would never happen. “Why don’t you just prepare a sign that I can wear in town: INCOMPETENT HUSBAND.”

Okay, that maybe was going too far, but I’m a desperate woman. I’m wondering whether the movies about the Donner family are scheduled for broadcast anytime soon, and I think the Contrarian is sizing me up for a good roast, should the situation not improve quickly.

For two days, I spent the better part of the day off line, needing to keep the line open for a call of salvation from winter’s determined intent to kill us all. And my heart sank lower than a belly crawlin’ snake. It was a time of highs and lows, mostly the later, but we managed to buck each other up as needed, to get by.

Finally we get word, last night, that the Calvary has arrived, or at least is in town, and will saddle up in the morning and save us. Joe, has a gigantus tractor, enclosed cab, and the mother of all snow blower attachments. I can hear the sound of trumpets blaring, and I think a distant refrain of God Save the Queen, which I figured was my imagination.

Great plumes of snow sailed twenty feet in the air, and arced over the icy landscape. Superman in the usual winter garb of car-hards and yooper hat,  crested the hill and rolled down. The behemoth shook with pleasure as she spewed her last mouth of snow and snorted a hearty “YOU ARE FREE!”

Manly talk ensued, between the Contrarian and Joe with the usual handshake and highdeeho. Within moments the Contrarian was off to another friend to get a couple of armloads of wood and then off to the big city to secure bars and oil, more gas, and vittles. I guess I will make it to church on time after all.

So that is my tale. Funny how personal crap overcomes all the real tragedy in the world.  Looking back, it doesn’t seem it was all that bad, but it was scary at times. And wood working is going to be much harder now, without the tractor to pull logs. The bronco can fill in for that, given the location of the tree now being dismantled. The tractor can’t be dealt with until it warms up a good deal more, unless an air compressor is located and the leak is a slow one, in which case, he might be able to hobble around with it until Spring.

Such is life in the meadow. Not nearly as convenient as suburbia, but then, I doubt suburban stories can match the sheer drama of our ups or downs. Just know, that all is safe, and well once again. . . .though I must say, I am getting a bit old for all this drama. Town is starting to look good.

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