In a Sow’s Ear
Big Timber, Mont.
Iris poured more coffee for each of us and passed the plate of home-made caramel rolls ” the kind minus any calories. She sighed. When Iris sighs, it’s a little like humming woe-is-me into a kazoo. I could see she was far down in the dumps. Once more she inhaled half the air in the kitchen and exhaled a sigh that started from the soles of her feet.
“Wind,” she growled. “I hate wind.”
“Ah,” I said, “so that’s it. I wondered what was bugging you. You’ve lived here all your life; surely you’re used to it. Anyway, it’s not all bad. Think of those new monster gadgets on the wind farms generating all that electricity and such.”
“Bleep!” said Iris, “the wind is a bleeping beast! It scalds the paint off buildings and tips over semi trucks. Some days I have to lean so hard into it, I can only recognize people by their shoes.”
“Well,” I said, attempting to insert a smidgin of cheer, “we’ve had rain now for two weeks. Everything’s green, grass is growing, critters are belly deep.”
“Won’t last,” said Iris. “The darned wind will come up again and suck up all the moisture. I think I’ll retire some place where the only wind comes from flapping butterfly wings.”
“And where would that be?” I asked.
“Egad! You don’t like wind!? Florida has hurricanes!”
“Yes, but only a couple times a year. In between, it’s calm and the sun shines. I think I’ll take up golf.”
“Golf?” I broke out in a chortle. “You mean as in wielding a spatula-shaped thingy to smack little white doorknobs around?”
“Laugh all you want. I’m going to Florida next week to check out retirement possibilities.”
Iris meant business. Upon her return to Montana many days later, I stopped by to hear the details. The wind had blown down two power lines during a lightning storm. Her drive was littered with broken-off tree branches. I thought she might be peeved at another wind-caused mess, but she wore a big smile as she threw open the door.
“So, did you locate a place to retire?” I asked as I took a seat at the kitchen counter.
Iris poured us coffee and passed a plate of home-made cinnamon buns. “Changed my mind,” she said.
“Oh?” Around a bite of bun, I mumbled, “How come?”
I ate two more cinnamon yummies as Iris expounded. It turned out Florida has creatures and conditions not on her preferred list ” such as crocodiles that eat small dogs, snakes that eat ditto, and bugs bigger than pullets.
As for golf, her brand new set of clubs never left the bag.
“How come?” I mumbled once more.
“Rain. It rained every single day! Torrents. Oceans. Rivers of vertical moisture so heavy it was like looking through a curtain.”
Apparently, precipitation in Florida can fall so hard the downpour is called a possum pounder. Iris had never seen a live possum. She met several soaking-wet ones face to face. With a shudder, she declared, “I got caught in four possum pounders ” with actual possums. Yuck. I am soggy to the bone. My boots are still squishing and I’ve been home three days.”
Iris took a bite of bun and munched on it for some moments. “At least,” she said thoughtfully, “wind dries things out.”
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