Friday, January 23, 2009
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