Last week we had some really, really high winds here in Backroads. In the 60 mph range. We're not used to that. This isn't Kansas, where the wind comes whipping down the plain, strong enough to blow the eyebrows right off your face. Yeah. Oklahoma has nothing on Kansas, the flatland state, home of my dear college crony-in-crime and former roomie, Bean.
I went to Salina one summer, and complained to Bean, since obviously she was the official ambassador of that blow-hard state. "How do you guys live like this? I know Salina is all the way across the state from you, but I kind of noticed this problem the whole way." I stopped just short of commanding her to make that wind cease, or build a windbreak everywhere I thought I might want to stop if I made a return trip across her gusty state. And do you know Bean's response?
"The wind will blow the hair right off your head."
Yes, she was quite poetic, my flatland-state friend. I do not use her phrase any more. Oh, I used to. Until that time I was walking from the parking lot into the building on an exceptionally windy day during my first month of teaching at a new school, and made that comment to a school official. When the kids brought up the state of the atmosphere first hour, I related my morning interaction, and they gasped. Looked at me wide-eyed, like a horse prancing around in a field of writhing rattlesnakes. "You didn't! Did you? He wears a piece!" Well then. So much for being granted tenure.
But we're not here to talk about my workplace faux pas. We're here to talk about my mom's way of repaying those who are kind to her. It's not what you might think. She does not always break out the Chex Mix. Sure, her neighbors leave her bags of hedgeapples, shovel her driveway, deliver her mail, ask her if she needs food or a ride to town. Mom appreciates their kindness. Really.
Last week I called to see how she was getting on. The wind was high, but we still had electricity. Our trees all blew over during the last storm. Apparently, that did not happen in town, as Mom revealed.
"I went to the living room to look out and see if the wind was still blowing. And right at the minute I looked through my picture window, a tree fell over across my neighbor's driveway. That was really a funny feeling."
"The guy who asked if you needed to get out, and sent his wife to bring in your mail?"
"Yes. I don't know how he's going to move that tree."
"Maybe you can walk across the road and stand on your side, and hand him some food over the trunk."
"Oh, I'm not going to do anything to help him!"
"What? He was so nice to you. What if he comes over and asked to borrow a chainsaw?"
"He should know I don't have a chainsaw. I'm not going to help him."
It appears that The Pony has inherited this trait from my side of the family.