I learned something today. A Farm Wife does not belong in the city. It’s not that she can’t maneuver and function there, but it just doesn’t suit her quiet, open air concept of living. For example:
My friend Lorea and I spent the day in Shreveport running errands. We both enjoy going to Johnny’s for their pizza buffet, and as I was paying for our meal, I happened to notice a woman’s shoes. “Wow, I wish I could justify wearing those,” I thought to myself, as my gaze slipped down to my own scuffed Roper slip-ons. And just as my eyes hit the toe of my shoe, I had this horrible, heart-stopping moment. My thoughts raced at the speed of light back to this morning. As I left the house, I noticed a piece of paper that last nights’ wind blew in, and as a knee-jerk reaction, I traipsed across the pasture to pick it up. I then got in my car and headed to town.
Did you know that you cannot discretely check the soles of your shoes for cow poop in public? It’s impossible! So I did what any self-respecting Farm Wife would do. I sat at the table, then pretended to store my purse on the floor under my chair, while simultaneously checking the bottoms of my shoes. Whew! No cow poop. Of course, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there when I left, but I have a 50/50 chance. It either wasn’t there in the first place, or it was left in the aisles of one of four places we went to before lunch. Ah, lovely. I can only pray it was the former, and not the latter.
Lunch was fun, and from there we had three more stops in Shreveport before working our way toward Minden for our final errands. We fought traffic all around Shreveport, coming in and out of multiple stores and parking lots, dodging cars who don’t think stop signs apply to them and four lines of cars trying to thin down to one lane. They call that a traffic bottleneck, I’m told. Around the farm, having a bottleneck means you have cows corralled and none of them wants to be the first through the working pen. Much easier to deal with.
Out here, we don’t worry so much about speed limit signs as all the farmers usually go much slower so they have a chance to gaze at their neighbor’s pastures and cows. In town, the speed limit signs are only suggestions, and most drivers exceed it by no less than 15 mph. In bottleneck conditions. I even encountered a few little gray haired old ladies that drove their vehicles in a manner that would make Mario Andretti proud. Out here, we do good to get the farmers to drive 15 mph. Period.
Did you know it takes four stoplights to complete a list of things to do on the farm tomorrow? Another two lights and you can have your menu for the month planned and written out. A high traffic day on our road means that ten cars have passed from 6 am until 6 pm, and two of those are Mrs. Thelma being counted twice – once going to work and once coming home. Another two would be Kevin in his four-wheeler (coming here and going home again) and two more would be Danny on his tractor, headed to the watermelon field and back home again in time for lunch. And we can usually identify the other four. In Shreveport, there are at least 100 vehicles per city block, and half of those are trying to pass you at a red light. Go figure.
I’ve decided to ramp up my goals for being as sustainable as possible on the farm. That way, I can slip into Shreveport on Tuesdays at 4:00 in the morning, long before traffic wakes up, do what few errands I have to do, and slip out again before 5:00 traffic hits. I’ll leave all that crazy city driving for those of you who have the guts to get out in the middle of it. But if you are leaving the farm and having to head to the city, you might want to check your shoes before you leave.