Monday, August 23, 2010

Farm Girl

Martha, my beloved, was born and grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, not far from Mankato and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie. Actually, it was grew up on farms, plural, because her folks were the nomadic type: There was always a cheaper and better place just down the road. Don’t believe it. Cheaper, maybe, but never better.

Like the farmhouse that came with a skunk in the dirt cellar. Martha’s father, who normally used his shotgun for blasting holes in the barn roof so he could get at the pigeons (no bird lover he), blew the poor skunk to kingdom come. In the middle of the night. In the aforementioned dirt cellar. Guess what happened.

Yeah, Martha and her sisters walked around for days reeking of the very exotic Eau de Pepe le Pew. The odor was everywhere: on her clothes, in her hair, between the pages of her schoolbooks. Even her lunch smelled worse than usual. It was mortifying to say the least, but there was an upside to the downside: all six boys at school instantly fell in love with her. The offspring of hog farmers, these lads had finally found the woman of their dreams: a girl who smelled just as putrid as they did.

* * *

After thirty years of living in big cities, then, I thought my beloved had long ago overcome her farm girl "roots." But when she started digging holes all over the yard like a crazed Golden Gopher, I realized

You can take the dirt out of the girl,
but you can't take the girl out of the dirt.

It’s all because we have a house with a yard, a few hundred square feet of rocks and scraggly desert plants that just won’t die—unless you’re a farmer, in which case you use a mule or a backhoe to dig them up. Or, if you’re like Martha’s dad, you just shoot ‘em with a shotgun in the middle of the night.

In the old days, we used to enjoy doing big-city things like going out to dinner, to a concert, or taking our lives in our hands on the freeways. Sundays used to be a day for resting, lollygagging and, uh, fooling around. But Martha’s innate passion for trans- forming her tiny piece of the desert in to a vast prairie changed all that.

A typical Sunday morning nowadays goes something like this as she leafs through the advertising supplements in the newspaper:

“Holy shit! Home Depot has mulch on sale, the good kind with the cow flop in it, and the shovel I really really really want is half price!” (You can always tell when she’s excited because she exclaims in bold italics.)

During the week, Martha is a serious, well-dressed, professional businesswoman. Come Saturday, however, she looks like Pigpen in the Peanuts cartoon. Only worse. Unlike Pigpen, there is a certain . . . odor . . . that accompanies dirt and hard labor. Something along the lines of . . . Eau de Pepe le Pew.

* * *

Today, August 23, 2010 my Farm Girl and I are celebrating our

36th wedding anniversary




(I can do flower gardens too!)

34 comments:

savannah said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! well done, sugarpies! xoxoxoxox

DJan said...

How wonderful! To both of you, happy anniversary! And I think you are really lucky to have a farm gal on the weekends and a city slicker during the week!

A Daft Scots Lass said...

awesome.

Liz said...

Hello Professor - Happy Anniversary! You should think about getting Martha that manure as a gift. My hubby gave me canning jars for Valentine's Day and I was tickled. ;-)

(I've been lurking for awhile and usually come away with a smile - thanks for that)

Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Happy Anniversary Charlie to you and that beautiful Farm firl, Martha!

Wandering Coyote said...

Well, happy anniversary you guys! And that was one lovely post, too, Charlie; I got a good laugh out of that! Hope you guys are going to do something to celebrate!

KleinsteMotte said...

All the best on this very special day. Your Sundays, where she can just BE and leave the pomp and ceremonial rules under the pillow are the best! :)

flying eagle woman said...

A warm congratulations to both of you...and so much more!!!!!
Shawna

laytonwoman3rd said...

Blessings on the pair o'ye. You are lucky in each other, so you are.

*goes off humming*
"How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm,
after they've met Charleeeee???"

Kim Ayres said...

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MARTHA & CHARLIE!!!

Woohoo!!!

Sharon Longworth said...

Hi Charlie. Congratulations and a very happy anniversary to you both. Your post was great - I was busy laughing at the Eau de Pepe le Pew, and you snuck up and hit me with a big soppy picture. You sure know how to work an audience, I bet there isn't a woman alive, who's read this and not gone aaahhh!

Mary Witzl said...

Aww, Charlie, that is so romantic! And 36 years is a real achievement.

Martha sounds like my kind of person. I get all excited when I find cheap compost or get a new strimmer. I'm going to ask for a push lawnmower for my next birthday too, so I won't have to go to the gym anymore AND can keep my grass nice and short.

My cousin in San Francisco once had a skunk come right into his house. He thought it was his cat and went to pet it -- and it let fly. It took them over a year to get the smell out of the house. They had to go stay in a hotel for the first couple of days, and the drapes and carpets were pretty much a write-off. Skunk essence is some powerful stuff...

Ponita in Real Life said...

A most excellent and very Happy Anniversary to you, Charlie, and the lovely Martha, farmgurl!!!! Wishing the two of you many more!!! xoxoxo

lisleman said...

Happy anniversary
nice story.

TechnoBabe said...

Happy 36th anniversary, Charlie and Martha. The farm girl stories are great. I hope she milked it for all it was worth when she was miss popular skunk scent! You two are an inspiration to all of us.

Fay's Too said...

Happy, happy! Not only can you write, but you know how to be in love! Amazing man.
Great column!

mapstew said...

I have a long way to go to catch up with you two!

Happy anniwotsits to Charles & Martha!

You get my first song Friday night! :¬)

Vicky said...

37 years, congrats to you both.

Robert the Skeptic said...

Totally cool. And I know from experience that farm girls are particularly adept with their hands.

Happy Anniversary!!

Alice said...

I can tell you already know how lucky you are, so all I'll say is congratulations. Here's to farm girls everywhere!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

36 years! You kids are incredible!

Happy anniversary and lots of love to both of you, regardless of how you smell.

Trina S. said...

That is so great! Happy Anniversary!

I hope that she always has fun in her yard/garden. Living in AZ I know how hard it can be to transform a yard of rocks and cacti to something more beautiful....

trina
www.mommeville.com

Tiffin said...

A fellow dirtite! I knew I liked that woman of yours, Charlie. I got a load of manure for my birthday once and it was one of the best gifts Himself has ever given me. But skunk up-close-and-personal is powerful stuff. One of my lads calls it "Eau de Summer". A smell you can taste.

36 years is kind of a minor miracle {creaky old lady voice} in this day and age, sonny. Well done, you two!

Pearl said...

There is a lid for every pot. :-) Congratulations to both of you!

Pearl

Deanna Schrayer said...

First I must apologize for not popping over in some time, but I'll spare you the boredom of excuses.

Second, thanks so much for a memory-wollop of a post! And of course the laughs. Always a pleasure.

Third, happy belated anniversary! That's quite an accomplishment!

Pat said...

Many congratulations Martha and Charlie. What a great combination you are.
I hope one day you will tell us how you found each other. Your lucky day!

Buzzard said...

Happy Anniversary Charlie & Martha, may you have many more.

hope said...

Congratulations!

I've always liked Martha, now I like her even more: dirt in her veins too [all my family seemed to be farmers until the last 2 generations] and because she knew she could grow a good husband in you. ;)

Stinkypaw said...

Happy Belated Anniversary to both of you!

Murr Brewster said...

She loves cow flop and you. Aww. Aww!

Angie's Lil' Nothings said...

Happy Anniversary!!

Syd said...

Very cool and congratulations on all those years together. I am a dirt digger too, and am off this AM to plant the fall garden. Happy Anniversary!

Charlie said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind, and sometimes very funny, sentiments. You should all work for Hallmark.

Charlie & Martha, 2 days into our 37th year.

Meg said...

Happy Anniversary!