A couple of weeks ago I decided my brakes were going out and asked my brother for assistance. Why? Because labor costs a fortune any my brother costs a case of beer, that’s why!!
Anyhow, my brother kept putting me off. We set a repair date for two weekends ago, and he ditched me. The following Wednesday I drove through a stop sign cos my brakes failed.
One week of the grannymobile (that is, the spare car my mother’s parents own). That was working slick til my mom’s dad got squirrely (he does that) and I had to switch from an '89 Chrysler New Yorker to a ?'80? Chevy Caprice.
This past weekend I gave my baby over to the care of my brother (it’s amazing how people move with swiftness after accusing them of trying to kill you) and drive my father’s father (some of you may know his wife [my gramma] died recently) down to southern MN to visit some relatives.
The first conclusion I came to is “Well, shit - no WONDER the Minnesota river is fucked up”.
See, up here in Central MN, as you drive along the highways, you see: a chicken farm; a swamp; a hog farm; a swamp; a house; a swamp; a dairy farm; a swamp …
Down in southern MN you see: a house; plowed land; a drainage ditch; plowed land; a house; plowed land; a drainage ditch; plowed land …
See … that swampland? That’s what’s referred to in EPA and tree-hugging circles as ‘wetland’. All the fertilizer and herbicide that’s dumped on to farmland up here gets filtered out in swampland, which also contain an ecological boon for grassland and wetland wildlife - deer, pheasant, turtles, fox, ducks, geese … Down there, all that swampland has been drained and tiled and that farmland runoff goes directly from field to drainage ditches to a creek to the Minnesota River. Which, in the Cities, joins up with the Mississippi.
Anyhow, all that I hold agriculturally near and dear was pretty much shattered; I’ve always believed that farmers are stewards of their land, and that if they don’t care for their land they shall face ruin. Unfortunately, in that area of this country, it is not the farmers who face ruin - it is those who live and earn their livings downriver.
I also had the misfortune to visit the dairy barn belonging to my second cousin’s husband (Lonnie) - the guy who milks 120 head, half of which never see the light of day. Because what used to be pasture land is now under plow. Lonnie finally, after a couple of years of bitching from his mother-in-law (the person grampa and I were visting) FINALLY built a ‘bedded shed’ - an area for his pregnant cattle to roam free of their stanchions. I have NEVER been on a farm where cattle are not pastured; while I know such a thing exists the extent of the … ?torture? … astounded me. Cows are NOT meant to spend months at a time standing still.
My grampa and I drove past mile after mile after mile of plowed farmland. And lots of dairy barns. And no pasture
Yesterday (Sunday) we drove back up from southern MN (Truman) in pouring rain. Rain ALL the way up. LOTS of it. The drive that normally takes about 2 to 2/12 hours took 4, because we were lucky to hit the speed limit. I immediately drove from my place to my brother’s to pick up my car. By this time the rain was lessening, although not nearly done (although the sun didn’t come out til around 5 Monday afternoon), and as I drove my repaired car home from my brother’s I cracked the window to flick out my cigarette ashes.
AND MY WINDOW WOULD NOT ROLL UP AGAIN!!!
So I rolled it down a bit more, and tried to grasp the glass with one hand while rolling up the crank with the other, and it slipped out of my hand, so I tried again …
Anyhow. It ended up that my window was COMPLETELY down, and it was cold and wet and dark and raining…I tried the trash bag method of car-interior protection … was SO tired once I finally got home last night …
This morning I woke up late. REALLY late. Called in to work, told them I’d be late. Called the bro (whose response was “I didn’t do it”) and he came out to roll my window up. Decided that the shitty weekend and crappy Monday weren’t good for me and took the day off (vacation time I truly cannot afford - I have about 20 hours on the books right now).
And what do I think now?
See, nothing BAD really happened to me. I had enjoyable, joyous, interesting conversations with relatives I only see at funerals and weddings. I saw a part of my home I haven’t seen since I was 12. I saw some beautiful midwestern architecture. I saw things that 97% (98? 99?) of the population of the United States of America will NEVER see.
And I came out of the weekend not sad, or mad, or depressed … but I cry as I type this.
So for those of you who slogged all this trying to find my conclusions? I’m sorry. I just don’t have any. I just had a couple of things that bothered me SO BAD that were not quite Pit-worthy.