Friday, January 23, 2009

Cold People




The heater is in the horses’ water barrel and I check it now and then to make sure it hasn’t blown a fuse. I also stick my hand in the water once in a while to make sure it isn’t electrified. This is not as courageous as it sounds. It’s not really electrified. More like a little charged. A little buzzed. Like when your foot’s asleep. I heard that can happen and you don’t know it and your horses stop drinking and then they get colic. I can’t have that. I’m paranoid about colic. My first pony died of colic and I’m still traumatized by it thirty-two years later. We better not talk about Cherokee or else I’ll bust out crying. So I stick my hand in the water.

The other heater is turned on low in the well house and I check that one too, to make sure it’s still on. Also to make sure it’s not running constantly because I’m worried about my electric bill. And the heat tape under the house. I plug it in. I get more wood. I think about making soup. I’m trying to get ready. They’re calling for an Arctic blast. I can barely take the cold as it is, never mind an Arctic blast.

Kurt says if we ever move anywhere again, it’s not going to be to a place that’s one degree colder than it is here. I guess that rules out ever going home to family and real pizza and sandy-footed arenas and trails where if you tell the kids to go out rock hunting, it might actually be hard to find anything. It’s easy on a horse’s feet there and easy on a person’s back. Not that I want to leave. Although I have to admit I thought about it for a split second when I ran into a really mean redneck (ironically transplanted from California) who told me my family wasn’t welcome at the horse club I’d inquired about joining that she is the secretary of. In fact, she said I wasn’t welcome in Virginia. Turns out she didn’t like what I had to say about Sarah Palin on my blog. (Please take note—I’m not talking about joining a political club or even her church—it was a horse club.) I had to lie to Kelly about why we weren’t going to the club as planned because I couldn’t bear to break her heart by telling her someone was so mean and that an adult could be such a bully. For a split second I wondered, do I want to be around people like this? Do I really want to raise Kelly here?

The funny thing is, right around the time that I was asking myself those questions, I got a knock on the door and it was Pearl bringing me Southern Living and Progressive Farmer magazines she was done reading and wanted to share. Then Effie came by to see if she could take Kelly to the Colonial Theater with her granddaughter. And then I met with my writer friends who all told me that the short story I read to the group was the best thing they ever heard, in fact, it should be on the bestseller’s list and all the agents in New York are absolutely insane if they can’t recognize talent like mine. Not really. But they liked it.

Point being, not everyone is nice in the country. Some of them are downright cold. And you can prepare all you want. Get more wood. Plug in the heaters. Still, the fact is, sometimes you’re going to stick your hand in the water and get shocked. But that’s okay. I can take it. Because the rest of them make it all worthwhile.

“To once again be reminded of the astounding beauty of humanity alongside its depravity.”—Mary E. DeMuth

21 comments:

June said...

That's horrible...but have to say not that surprising. Hopefully enough others in your area offset this mindset. That's what I love about Floyd...very eclectic.

Tanya said...

Oh my gosh, what a nut. She's the reason Californian's aren't welcome anywhere (I'm a Ca transplant too, but a nice one :) ) HAHA, a Ca redneck, Virginia wannabe!
What is this Arctic blast you mentioned? I didn't know we were due for my cold weather. That last cold snap was a doozie and I was really loving the warm weather yesterday...NO! Say it isn't so!

Jamie Ferraioli said...

There's always good that'll cancel out the bad.

And yes...it's definitely cold up here. So cold my fingers turn yellow from holding the steering wheel when I'm driving. So cold the door is iced shut every morning. So cold I never want to walk the garbage the 10 feet to the dumpsters. Brr...I'm cold just thinking about it.

Beth said...

Doggone it, why in the world do people have to be so mean? I'm so sorry you experienced such unkindness, but, as you noted, you are blessed in that the good souls in your life outnumber the bad. Thank God for that.

Jeff said...

Well, with people like that in the horse club, why would you want to join? Hey, it works both ways, doesn't it? Interesting that she is arrogant enough to claim to speak for all the people in Virginia. That speaks volumes about her. But yes, there are definitely mean people out in the world. I've discovered a few in Floyd, too.

Motley said...

Cold people, nice people, bad people, cool people, your going to run into them no matter where you go. I've lived all over the country all of my life, and the fact is, you're going to run into someone who doesn't like you for one reason or another. There especially is a problem when you are the "new" kid in town; hence all the times I got beat up as a kid. The bully I'll never forget is Dicky Norquest who has traumatized me for life, and to this day, I hope he is dead, or at least in prison.

Like everything in life, you need to take the good and weed out the bad. Thankfully there are more Pearls in life than Dicky Norquests!

Sloan said...

That is a bully!! If you don't believe what she believes you can't join the horse club!! Wasn't that what your article on Sarah Palin was all about anyways? Sounds like she needs to listen a little harder when she goes to church!

Becky Mushko said...

Uh, a single short story won't make the best-seller list. But that story stands a good chance of winning a contest and getting published in a literary magazine.

Who'd have thought a country girl would write literary fiction!

--one of your fellow kitchen table kid lit crits

CountryDew said...

Hey, it was great to meet you in person during the writer's conference. I'm sorry we didn't get to talk longer. Not much time in between classes for networking, I must say!

I'm glad you know we're not all like that woman. Whew. What a piece of work.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Ha ha, don't worry--it ain't so Tanya. That Arctic blast passed. I wrote that story last week.

CountryDew, yes, it was great to meet you too. Especially someone so intelligent and interesting--I don't go to your blog because I owe you one. I really like it.

Thanks for the compliment Becky--you always inspire me and put a fire under my butt.

And thanks everyone else for your kind thoughts--I know, there are bad and good everywhere and most of the folks around here are great.

Poor Motley--want me to beat up that Dicky Norquest? lol

Love My Dog said...

What an awful woman - she must have been from Orange County (our token red county) or something. Her ponies are probably named Rove and Chaney :) .

One beautiful day here in San Francisco - it was pride week and there are pride flags everywhere and the city is all 'pinked' out - and it made me so incredibly happy to live in a place where diversity is celebrated -- I was relishing the moment in so many ways. My reverie was broken by an SUV that swerved around me in the crosswalk - and, to make it all the more fabulous a moment - he had an "I break for Hooters"...ah diversity...

Wolf said...

i must say i'm never surprised by what people say and do anymore. i guess i'm mostly surprised that they feel they can/should/have a right to treat another person the way they do.

i can't wait for the cold to pass. i hate having the heaters in the buckets, and hate even more the buckets we don't have heaters in. knocking out ice everyday is a pain in the behind...

i really love your stories. :)

sweetflutterbys3 said...

It's something awful when the bad people outweigh the good-that is when you know you've got to move! Doesn't sound like that is the case here, thank goodness. And a transplant yet. That takes the cake, doesn't it?!

hellosweetworld said...

I really do hate the cold!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Our horses were getting shocks a few weeks ago from their heated/automatic waterers. We couldn't figure out why they would all run out in the morning and drink from the waterers in the paddocks for so long. Anyway we fixed the lines and all is okay now. Here you think you're doing a good thing for yourself and them and it's just as much trouble as the ritual of breaking ice.

I always wonder if people like that are mean because they are just so uneducated and ignorant. If someone took offense to what you wrote on your blog about Caribou Barbie, why would they carry it over to personally try to bar you from joining a horse club. It's your opinion and you're entitled to it. I just don't understand the pettiness of some small minds.

Rebecca said...

Way to turn a bad situation into a good story! It's what I like about small places in a way--you know where people stand whether you like it or not. And every time you realize with a sinking heart that there are people who stand against you, you have a few who come up and stand with you, and it's really moving and beautiful. I feel like living in a small place is also all about learning not to give a shit about what people think. I'm working on that myself.

Your writer's group sounds awesome, by the way.

Amy Tate said...

Debi, that's horrible!!!! The older I get the more reclusive I become. People are hateful, aren't they? I don't think I'd want to trail ride with a gal like that. I'm glad you had some other friends to come over after that. Folks know that I'm not an Obama fan, or even a democrat for that matter, but I've never been treated like that. Shame on her! We should co-author a post about how two people who don't share the same political views remain friends. What do you think?

Cynda said...

I think I know what club this is and I don't think the gentleman who started the club would agree with that woman at all. They are trying to get members from what I hear. I am going to email you.

Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Amy, I was just telling Kurt about that--how you and I are different politically and even religiously and we have had some "discussions" about these things. And we may not ever see eye-to-eye. But we've always been kind and respectful to each other. And we're still good friends. Let's hope the whole country comes together like we have. And yes, let's write about it! Great idea.

Cynda, I think you know the club. I was wondering if this means that Jews aren't allowed to join that club either? I can't imagine the founder approves excluding people for these reasons. But if so, Jeff's right--I wouldn't be interested in joining that kind of club anyway.

all furry critters said...

She probably moved to Virginia to be able to wear her white hood and robe...
I get tired of sticking my hand in the water and getting shocked!
I am about at the point where I'll take the mean people and stick their head under to check for shocks!!!
Mean people suck!

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

There are good Californians. My sister is one and she's a horse person too. Clubs? Who needs them. Great post.

DI
The Blue Ridge Gal