Sunday, May 09, 2010

City Girl, Country Girl

Even though I will always consider myself to be a New Yorker (I put that in red because—what can I tell you?—it's special), I've known for some time that my transition to Country Girl was completed ages ago. If I'd had any doubts about that, they were dispelled last night.

I was supposed to meet my friend Lindsay at an art opening at 5:00. We both agreed we'd be there on the dot or only slightly after. I spent most of the day outside..... mowing around the barn, helping my son with the ongoing barn cleanout, and spraying poison ivy with him. On a trip in his pickup to fill up our gasoline cans, I looked in the truck mirror and said, "I hope I can make myself look a hell of a lot better by five o'clock." When we got home I begged off joining him for some fun brush hauling (his adjective, not mine) because I had to take a shower and get ready to go out.

So he went home, and I got clean. Ninety minutes later I was dressed, my hair was vastly improved, and I was sporting some badly-needed makeup. I added a favorite necklace, and I was ready to face the art world. The wind which had been blowing wildly all day, had picked up, and trees were whipping about. As I locked the front door behind me, I saw that the cover had blown off my wood pile.

The wood pile is huge, and the tarp that covers it is not easy to manage on a still day. There was no way I was going to attempt it in "town clothes," so I quickly decided to take care of it after I got home. I was already a little late, and wouldn't make it to the gallery at 5:00 on the dot or even a little after.

So I got in the car and headed up my road, turning onto Stove Pipe Hill. My big Caprice took the hill with ease as always, and I soon found myself at the top, our own version of "big sky country." It's a great view. At that moment, the sky was a surreal mix of black, grey, and white clouds, tumbling over each other, with odd peeks of blue. My first thought was, why didn't I bring a camera? I always bring a camera. My second thought was, it's gonna rain on my wood pile.

I didn't turn around right away. I drove on and pondered the situation. I called Lindsay on her cell, and left the completely useless message that I was undecided about what to do. Just before I reached the end of the road, I turned around in someone's driveway and went back home.

Fifteen minutes later, somewhat covered in an old jacket and wearing gloves, I wrestled with the tarp. For a while it seemed as though the wind would win. I would get it down in one area, but when I worked on another part the first section would blow off. I could feel spruce needles entering my shoes and occasional big splats of rain landing on my head. I had some words to say on the subject, and they were not pretty.

I finally got all of the tarp over all of the wood, and laid some newly-cut apple limbs on top to hold it down. Then I assessed my appearance. No dirt that I could see. Hands intact under the gloves. Spruce needles knocked out of the shoes. Still wearing makeup and necklace. Hair not worth thinking about in wind this gusty.

So I proceeded on to the art gallery, arriving at 6:15. Lindsay hadn't gotten there yet, as she and her date had made an unexpected stop involving his dog. (Lindsay's an artist, so I don't ask.) An hour later the three of us left to attend another opening. They invited me to go in his car. The wind still sounded like a freight train, and the temperature had dropped. I didn't have a jacket. Lindsay's date offered to go get his car so I wouldn't have to walk to it, but I said, "Thanks, but that's okay. I'm a country girl."


Mali said...

I had this feeling of foreboding that you were going to have some embarrassing hay-in-your-hair or something-unspeakable-on-your-shoe kind of incident at the art gallery! I was very happy with the ending.

Susan said...

LOL So was I, Mali. Thanks!

Indigo Bunting said...

I had the same fear. But I love this story. Well told!