Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 1-24-11
Big Timber, Mont
Since I’ve been snowed in twice this winter due to wind blowing snow sideways at Indy 500 speeds and piling up drifts higher than an elephant’s back, I’ve got a right to gripe. It says so in the Stimulus Package. Wind – i.e. air currents that come at you on invisible waves of varying intensity. Whipping zephyrs that can plaster a cat against a board fence.
Only yesterday, as I was beating my way against the gales to get to the Post Office, I slammed into Doof Doofus, a local wind scientist. I knew it was Doofus as I recognized his shoes. (In my country you learn to recognize people by their footwear as you can’t stand up straight in the searing blasts).
Doofus informed me that he is writing a book about wind. “I’m calling it ‘Windy Hints’ because it’ll have – you know – all the – you know – scientific stuff on wind, air currents, blustery weather, breezes, airstreams, jet streams, hurricanes – you know – all that kinda thing.”
“How nice,” I said, fighting to prevent my mail sack from taking flight. “Did a lot of research on the subject, no doubt?” I wise-cracked.
“Of course. I looked up wind velocity records in old newspapers, made charts, called the weather bureau twice and Al Gore sent me a fax with a list of hints on how to tell if the wind is blowing.”
“Nothing like going to the source,” I said as I beat my way up to the door of the Post Office and clung to the handle. “Care to share any of those hints?”
“Well, in ranch and farm country, if you see five of your best laying hens sail past on their way to North Dakota, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Yeah?” I struggled to get the Post Office door open. Doof Doofus wasn’t helping, but then he had to keep at least one hand on his toupee.
“That’s right,” he declared proudly. “Also, if you see horses with their backsides gone bald, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Imagine that,” I murmured as I applied both hands to the Post Office door handle and yanked.
Doofus wasn’t finished. “When you open your car door and the vehicle takes off for the next county without you, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Golly,” I commented, jerking and jerking and jerking on the Post Office door handle.
“When seated inside your house and the roof begins to hump up and down like a perking coffee pot, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Truly?” I leaned back, hoping the added pressure of weight would get the danged P.O. door open.
“Yep,” said Doofus. “Also, when tires from the roof of a trailer house four miles west play ring toss on your chimney, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Wonders never cease,” I said, as I managed to pull open the P.O. door a whole two inches.
“Indeed,” said Doofus. “And when you notice the curl in a pig’s tail has gone straight, you know the wind is blowing.”
“Is that a fact,” I muttered as I tried to stick a toe into the 2-inch space between the P.O. door and frame. Finally I managed to wrench open the door wide enough to slide through.
Looking back through the glass pane I saw Doof Doofus’ toupee take flight like a turkey buzzard off a fence post. I watched as he gave chase. He wore a knee-length overcoat but had failed to button it. The wind spiraled into him and Doofus lifted off. The last I saw was a dark object in the sky zooming toward Dakota. It wasn’t Mary Poppins.