Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 1-31-11
Big Timber, Mont.
Wind, as an element of weather, is not a bad thing. It clears the ridges and meadows of snow so cattle can graze. However, this winter I’ve had cause to complain – a lot – about wind. At Thanksgiving, along came a snowstorm and the wind decided to move tons of it sideways to fill my carport, the corral, and pile road-blocking drifts so high I couldn’t get out for three days. So I missed Turkey Day at a friend’s house.
Then along came Christmas holidays. Repeat of the above scenario. Thawing frozen burritos for a meal for Christmas dinner is pathetic. But none of those incidents really bothered me. As my late husband used to say when folks complained: “So, howd ‘ya like it out west?”
Still, I have to admit that yesterday’s battle with the zephyrs gave me pause. Also provided fodder for this column. Which is to say, the following story is entirely true and you can quote me.
Where I live, one must haul one’s trash to a dumpster which is situated halfway along the track leading to the county road. Once a week, I’m obliged to load plastic garbage sacks full of said garbage into my pickup, drive to above mentioned dumpster and deposit said sacks into said dumpster. A simple chore enjoyed by Bailout the Cowdog who supervises.
So, yesterday, I embarked on the usual dumpstering duty in the teeth of gales chewing up the atmosphere. I loaded the trash bags; drove to the dumpster, stopped, opened pickup door and shoved – hard. Then I shoved again. With super-woman effort I managed to (barely) push open the door – enough to slide forth from the truck. The dumpster, of course, was lying on its side, like a beached porpoise – although I have no idea what a beached porpoise looks like. In any case, I faced the task of standing the trash barrel up … not a difficult undertaking unless you’re shoving into a nor’easter of 50 per … and you’re a wimpy widow woman with wishy-washy muscle power. But I got ‘er done … with Bailout’s supervision.
Retrieving the sacks of refuse from the pickup bed, I managed to sling them one at a time into said dumpster. I was proud. I turned to my faithful truck, opened the driver’s door and, exerting widow-woman strength, braced it in open position. That’s when the problem arose.
Which is to say that I could not climb aboard the pickup AND keep the danged door open long enough to keep it from slamming into my leg, possibly breaking it. I wasn’t in favor of that. What to do?
In the bed of my pickup I carry a short-handled shovel. I retrieved said shovel and jammed it between said door and floorboard of the pickup. Then, carefully, I clambered up and into the cab. Exhaling a breath I didn’t realize I’d been holding, I sighed. The shovel had done its job. Now all I had to do was pull it free. The banshee howling wind rocked the truck. I dragged said shovel loose. WHAM! Wind smashed the helpful tool against my pickup. Had that been my leg, I would’ve needed Obama Care instantly. Good thing I had Shovel Care.