Saint Patrick’s Day has special meaning to the Peyton family. Oddly we don’t usually celebrate it much, although I’ve been known to do the corned beef and cabbage thingie.
Eleven years ago the Contrarian and I were on the road, somewhere around Illinois, on our way to Iowa from my previous home in Connecticut. We were to arrive mid-afternoon in Cedar Rapids and stop at a family restaurant for some of the usual fare for the holiday. Then on to our apartment, secured by the Contrarian to start our new life together.
As I recall, it was fairly warm, no snow, otherwise pleasant. We were to marry that fall in 1999 and moved to the meadow literally within a couple of weeks. Life as I knew it would never be the same.
Today, we are not preparing corned beef or anything remotely like it. We’re both a bit tired, physically and mentally as we once again recover from another of the innumerable mishaps of living on the lane.
The snow is gone and the ground is mushy. I missed church on Sunday, because in attempting to turn the car around for me, the Contrarian found it already essentially mired, even though I had carefully stayed about two car lengths from the house when I had last been out.
Monday, the Contrarian’s half brother drove his back hoe over and pulled out the Bronco. I was set to serve at the food pantry on Tuesday. I took off, only to find the trip down the lane frightening and harrowing. The Bronco shuddered as she dripped mud and water onto the road. I saw where a portion of the rubber around the bumper was nearly off, so I took the trip back to the house.
I was ready to call it quits, but the Contrarian told me to go forth, sure that my mild anxiety attack was all that was wrong. So I trudged forth again, bouncing, lurching, and otherwise throwing myself and vehicle to near airborne status. But I got out.
I didn’t get far. About four miles and a tire blew. To make a long story short, I got a ride quickly, and was dropped off at the lane, and I walked back.
The plan was to cart a battery, fully charged, down to the road and start up our little Ford, driving it to the Bronco so the Contrarian could change the tire. That plan was soon scrapped as it was entirely too heavy to carry, especially up hills and through mud. Another call to the step brother. My tears no doubt convinced his wife that we were in dire straits.
I road in the cab and the Contrarian took the bucket ride. We got to the road, installed the battery and with a small push, pulled out. We got to the Bronco, changed the tired (I watched to be fair), and decided to drive into Center Point for a few items of groceries.
We did that, momentarily losing the keys (which were in my pocket all the time) returned to the Ford, and returned to the lane. The Contrarian parked the Ford in a position to get out easily, and I climbed into the Bronco, ready to hold on for the ride.
We made it, this time not careening so badly. Four attempts help to define the best “line” to take at the waterways. Our lane near the house is all dug up and twisted by the turning of a large tractor, but we can park in our turn around space, which is nicely grassed. We humped groceries to the back door.
I could hear the dogs clamoring to get out as we got to the door. I opened it with two bags in hand, and the Contrarian with dog food and another bag behind. Brandy and Bear scooted out and snaked their way past us.
Not a single how do you do from either one of them. Brandy raced to her beloved Bronco, and examined it carefully. She was ready to go, and was highly disappointed that nobody cared about her car ride desires.
The Contrarian entered the house, collapsed into a chair, and roared with laughter. “She never even looked at us! All that mattered was her precious Bronco was back!” I was ever so less appreciative of the humor.
I’m pulling back my church stuff for now. We need to drive the lane as little as possible until we can get it worked down and straightened out. It’s just the way things have to be. We are expecting more rain on Friday and Saturday. That means more days of drainage after that. This could go on for months, but hopefully it won’t.
I got to thinking. I distinctly remember that the Contrarian promised me that Iowa was a paradise, a secret one. Meaning, don’t encourage people to move here. He promised to build me a castle. It’s just that the moat has no drawbridge, and the swim is cold in the spring.
So I celebrate our “anniversary” and remind the Contrarian–“Me thinks you owe me buddy! This paradise you spoke of?–exactly where is it?
*Deposited in the Chronicles of Life in the Meadow–or 1,001 ways to use mud as a decorative resource.