Ornery Cuss

Jul 24, 2009 at 1:06 AM

Saturday morning, I wake up to find my lawn littered with the old men left over when all the young and fit ones have wandered off to either big cities or big dreams.

7 men, varying ages and sizes, poking around my yard, with four or five vehicles in various states of being moved around.

I walked out and said "If I'da known every man in the county was coming to my house, I'd have fixed myself up a little." Got a smile out of the ranch foreman, a strange stare out of Mike, and a chuckle out of some old coot I'd never met.

Frank (aforementioned foreman) told me they were moving out a few vehicles that Mike wanted (hello to Mike, nice to see you again, Mike waves and stares some more - not because he's interested, it's just rare to see a single person of the opposite sex around here and I think he feels obliged) before the scrap guy (absent wave hello to Scrap Guy, nice to meet you) grabs up all the scrap on the property on Monday morning.

My eyes say I'm mad no one warned me, and my attention hasn't wandered from Frank.

Oh, there somebody coming to pick up the scrap on Monday? Everything?

Yup. Just about, well, near everything. 'Cept these here cars. We're getting them out of your way now. Frank spits, scoots a foot along the ground. Meant to tell ya. They'll be here bright and early. Ish. Monday Mornin.

Holds his suspenders between missing fingers, skims his hands along the elastic. Plants his feet. Looks at me sidelong, waiting for the response.

Frank you gotta give me some warning when you're bringing the cavalry by. Id'a made coffee or something.

Listen, he says, I told your dad. Pulls down his cap. He sounds indignant that I'm asking him to warn me of company, but I can tell he feels bad about it because there's more shuffling of feet, which is what Frank does when I've said something he concedes to.

More men spitting and scratching and standing around old beat up cars, and scratching their beards, absently doing what they and their grandfathers and their grandfathers have been doing forever. Sliding fingers over suspenders, digging oil out from between fingernail and callous. Not even realizing how very very much they look the part they're playing. And mostly thinking about ways to tow the lumps of metal that are dubiously labeled as cars laying all over the back of the property back down the road to wherever they were taking them to either let them finish rusting or try to fix them up.

Chains and ropes getting hooked onto or lashed around bumpers in haphazard avant-garde disregard for symmetry or much more than keeping the car, the bumper and the wheels on the road. No red warning ribbons, no tiedowns or real hookups. No need. Staying on gravel backroads all the way there.

Any truly local man worth his snuff knows how to get all the way to any town within a few hundred miles all on gravel backroads and old logging trails.

I wandered back into the house.

Not a backwards glance at the first gathering of males I've seen in months. I know better. I spend ten minutes talking to any one of those men, half the county will have me engaged by next week. Only one in there within 30 years of my age or presumably untethered is Mike, and I'm friends with his ex and know HIS story. Not going there. Besides, rumor or no, I'm not interested even if he was charming. Even with the slim pickins around here I'm too picky choosy for my own good.

But dammit, just cause we're the only two single people under 50 years old, 300 pounds within five miles of here doesn't automatically match us up no matter how many old women subtlely beat me over the head with the idea.

So that gave me Sunday to get all the bits of scrap laying around the property over to the heap. If I had scrap to add to the pile. Which needed thinking on.

So on Sunday, I had discovered actually a heck of a lot of random metal laying around. I got everything I found laying around the yard (by which I mean about as much property as the average city park) into the pile, tons of old bits of logging tools that probably rightly belongs in a museum if they weren't rusting into flakes. I could move everything except a great big honking semi circle thing that looked like a toothless bear trap for the biggest bear you ever saw. Made of a solid HUGE thick piece of iron, probably before I was born. Heavier than my fridge.

It didn't want to budge.

I picked it up by the part that would hurt (if it were a bear trap which it wasn't) and lugged it about six inches before I realized I needed better shoes. Difficult rocky incline between me and the scrap heap - which incidentally was sitting smack in the middle of what I usually considered my "driveway" but was temporarily a scrap sorting area. No, I guess I wasn't planning on heading to town, but thanks for asking. I sighed and wandered into the house.

I got better shoes, came back out to the back field, picked up this giant iron horseshoe/beartrap/railroading/logging tool and started cussing very loudly. That's how I give myself a pep talk.

Six inches off the ground and my elbows aching already. If I sort of lifted and tipped myself sideways I'd fall over a little that way and the thing was moved a few more inches. Somestimes a few feet.

Cussed all the way about 60 yards to the scrap heap, stumbling and heaving and swearing up a storm.

Got the darn thing into the heap, or at least alongside it. Couldn't have lifted it to put it on top of anything else even if I knew all the sailors' language there is.

Frank came over and saw what I'd moved and was impressed.

His reward for doing the heavy lifting on that was to say, I'll get that spare dryer out of the way for you.

Thanks Frank.

Aw, t's'nothin. Rubs grease on pants, walks away cussing at his dog.

Monday, I looked down and saw that I gave myself a hell of a lot of dangerous looking yellow bruises all over my legs.

Today, they're working on turning greenish-blue. Every time I look at them, I can't help but break out in a prideful grin.

I beat the big piece of metal. It may look like I lost that fight, but I definitely won. That's right. Which one of us is it that is crammed into the country wrecking yard? That's right, it ain't me.

Plus I have only one dryer now, and that's a good thing. Means there's somewhere to put the next few years of scrap.


  1. Shelley Says:

    Hilarious. So when are you writing your book about living in the bush? Got to lend you a book my godmother gave me called "the egg and I", it will make you smile.

  2. Mr.Pete. Says:

    You sure grow an interesting crop of characters and boy, you ARE ornery. Well done on moving that bitch. No, I meant the piece of metal.

  3. Kat Says:

    I heart you with all my heart.

  4. Kat Says:

    That bear trap looking thing... H nearly fell over onto it her first time ever peeing in the grass when the plumbing broke down. That coulda hurt on a bare bum.