Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 4-16-12 | TheFencePost.com

Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 4-16-12

I have a friend (Jennifer) who has more energy concentrated in her person than a high voltage electric wire. She’s never without a new idea, activity or hilarious observation on the passing parade. Her current passion (among many) is making yarn from buffalo wool. The yarn is then knitted into garments – everything from socks to sweaters to dresses to scarves to finger-free mittens for outdoor activities. She’s the innovator of “Montana Sweater Company” and if you want, you can look her up online and be amazed.

Does Jennifer personally knit the items and weave yarn into cloth? No, she farms out the wool to a local Yarn Shop. She allocates weavers and knitters to make the selected garments. Well, then, what does Jennifer do?

She shears. Which is to say, to get the wool off a buffalo, one has to shear it much like one would shear a sheep. Does this mean she throws a live buffalo to the ground, bends over and with electric clippers harvests the hair off the animal’s hide? Well, no. She shears hides after the bison are no longer inhabiting them. The pelts come from buffalo ranches around the state. Her garage has been turned into a Bison Beauty Parlor. Her automobile has been expelled from its home and must sit like a lonesome pup in the driveway in all weathers.

Shearing a buffalo hide is icky, smelly, and heavy work. Jennifer claims she has developed impressive upper body strength from wrestling hides onto tall sawhorses in preparation for shearing. Everything has gotten busier but as she says, she knows she creates all the activity and that her interest in life is bigger than she is.

She also admits she gets tired and in a recent e-mail communique, wondered: When are they going to bring back the nap? My grandmother was a great one for a nap.

If you nap, according to Jennifer, people think you are ill or lazy or both. She asserts: How do you say to someone, I’d love to attend the book club but it cuts into my nap time. 

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Don’t call between three and four because I’m taking my nap.

No one ever asks, When do you take your nap? Maybe afterwards we could meet for a drink?

If you nap you have to do it in secret as in, Where were you? I stopped by the house and saw your car, but you didn’t answer. I thought maybe you’d fallen and couldn’t get up. Almost called search and rescue!

Or you have to say something like: I was out for a walk when you stopped by.

Or, I go to the gym in the morning … I go to yoga class … I’m getting my chakras read … I’m getting a massage. But you can’t say: I’m taking a nap. 

So I don’t, and that is why I’m tired … and sometimes cranky.

Jennifer ended this communique with wondering if I am a secret napper and suggested we start a website dedicated to the Secret Napper Society.

I had to admit to my friend that I’m not a secret napper. I am a full-fledged, out-and-out, happy napper. Napping is a practice indulged in (and enjoyed by) anyone who has reached the yonder end of allotted years on this coil. Jennifer is still youthful enough to feel a bit sheepish (buffalo-ish?) about taking a siesta. (I predict she’ll get over that!)

As for me, to avoid having to make up an excuse or dodge questions about where I was or wasn’t, I keep it simple by taking the phone off the hook.