Pat Online ~ March 2014
[Pat, age 9, a mud expert.]
The other day I walked into our kitchen and Bun yelled at me, “Go outside this minute and stomp that mud off your shoes!”
Ha! I had to laugh. Bun has never experienced mud. As a matter of fact, I myself probably haven’t seen it in 60 years. To my knowledge, mud doesn’t even exist anymore. As far as I know, the whole world is now paved. When I was a kid, though (Yeah, yeah, you knew this was coming) we knew our mud. Actually, back then, we didn’t have mud year around. I suspect it arrived in March and April and lingered over into the first part of May. Mud was probably unpleasant but I doubt we complained about it. That would be like complaining about life. As a matter of fact, I don’t think we even discussed mud. It was simply a part of our little world, like air and mosquitoes and hornets.
As I say, I haven’t seen mud or even thought about it in years, but it’s starting to come back to me. The clearest image I can work up is of our car getting stuck in mud. If your car gets stuck in snow, you simply shovel the snow away. You don’t shovel mud away. As soon as one shovelful is removed from under a tire, an equal amount oozes in. Mud is endless.
I remember once getting stuck in mud as my stepfather, Victor, and I were driving between our house and our barn, possibly to deliver a sack of grain to the cows. I was probably about age ten. Getting stuck in the mud was so routine and boring, Vic and I never even bothered to discuss it. Our vehicle suddenly came to a stop, the rear tires howling and digging their way into the mud. Vic, perhaps exasperated and getting on in years, seemed to slump forward and possibly rested his forehead on the steering wheel. I needed no directions. I got out of the vehicle, slogged through mud over to a pile of old fence posts, selected one, and drove it as hard as I could under the left rear tire. Then I got another one and jammed it under the right rear tire. When I climbed back into the vehicle, neither Vic nor I spoke. We both knew the routine. Vic threw the transmission into reverse, stepped on the gas. The rear tires whined and smoked and then climbed atop the fence posts and we backed up to what we laughingly thought of as solid ground. This activity was so routine we didn’t even mention it to my mother when we got back to the house.[Vic DeMers, Pat's stepfather being dapper in California before he moved to the mud-filled wilds of North Idaho.]
In any case, that’s why I had to chuckle, while standing out on our paved driveway and stomping that bit of dirt off my shoes. Bun doesn’t know the first thing about mud.