Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Now I know the whole story of your Friday morning!!! It did turn out well, didn't it?? jane

By Blogger jane, at 8:59 PM  

Boy, can you tell a good story! And I so agree with you about GWT's! I'd marry one, if they'd have me! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 4:08 PM  

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Monday, October 09, 2006  

Home again, home again, jiggity jig.

And nothing is as sweet as home again. Even all the joy and pleasure that is a fiber filled weekend. After 2 days of rain that would have made Noah sweat, and 2 days of working in and around the Bog of Orange County Mud Wallow, blue skies spread out across the land, warm sun rejuvenated our skin with vitamin D and I got home before dark!!!, thanks to the wonderful Mr.SpiritTrail, who showed up at 4:30 and did in 20 minutes what usually takes us gals 45, lugging all the heavy display furniture away faster than we could pack up all the beautiful yarns. Fewer beautiful yarns than were unpacked, happily. But the old saw “Many hands make light work” isn’t the half of it. Particular hands make even lighter work. Thank you B!!

But what a 3 day adventure I’ve had! Each twist and turn is enough to make the bravest shiver till the only response that makes sense is a hearty laugh and a faith-filled leap.

First off there was the rain. We’ve had a spate of glorious weather for weeks. Even the rain has been polite, coming after dinner and bidding us adieu before dawn. But last Thursday night the rain god decided we needed to know what real wet means. It’s seldom that torrential, thunder filled, belly washing gushes of rain come after 10 at night, but Thursday they did. Packing (and unpacking) is no fun in the rain, so I’d put my wheel and a few other odds & ends in the car earlier that evening, but I still had a few things that couldn’t be spared in the morning. I carried my clothes for the story telling in plastic and wore sweats to drive. They dry beneath the car heater.

The first sign of trouble reared its head before I’d even left the farm. Jacob’s Gut, the little stream that boarders our farm - and separates us from the road, was gushing across our lane. In years past that would have been deadly, but BD put a bigger culvert beneath the road about 10 years ago and our lane doesn’t wash away in these huge storms anymore. Still - it was a S L O W creep off the farm onto .... flooded tar roads!


Just about every field on the flats was saturated and runoff laid a sheet of water across miles of asphalt. Driving through them made the water fly up on either ide of my car, sometimes higher than the roof. That nixed taking the short cut over back roads to Richmond. My first performance was at 10 and I wanted to get to the school with plenty of time to dry off, settle in and compose my thoughts. I left at 7. An ordinary drive would take just under 2 hours. Morning rush hour in the city - something I am completely unused to - a pit stop - all those little time eaters needed the cushion of that extra hour. But I didn’t want to find myself at the bottom of the hill, only to find Patti Swamp Creek had flooded the road and closed it off to traffic. So I took the longer, stoplight filled, but high speed road route through town and straight onto 360.

I’d just crossed the Mataponi River at Aylett when my windshield wipers went THUNK! and just stopped working. No buzzing motor sound. No whir whir whir, if I turned them off, then on again - oh child of the computer age who thinks rebooting something might make it work again. Nothing.

People often talk about something hitting you in the pit of your stomach - and it’s actually happened to me once or twice in my life, but only when the blow was so bad I didn’t think I could recover. A lesser blow - one for which I believe there is an answer - if only I can just think - if only I can just open up and let it come to me - hits me in my chest, throat and head. It’s what you might call an upper body blow. Or perhaps response is the better word. An upper body response is one which has all the light headed woozy sensations, but I don’t feel like I’m going to throw up. Just got to think fast, with every window open - wide. It’s a sort of blossoming feeling - an opening up - an extending of every antenna I have, tuned to every frequency I can think of. That’s how it was on Friday, as I continued to speed towards Richmond in the pouring ... streaming gushing pouring rain. If I peered up high I could see over the curve of the windshield where wind blew the rain away enough to actually sort of see the road.

I’ll admit it. One option I considered was to just drive on through the rain, sitting on top of a quilt I had on the back seat, so that I could keep peering through the top 4 inches of windshield. I nixed that idea when a state trouper passed me and I considered that the ticket he’d give me if he realized I was driving without windshield wipers might be “reckless driving” - a serious violation. And besides, I really wouldn’t be able to see if anybody pulled out in front of me. Death by car wreck was not one of my choices. Even crumple by car wreck was off the list.

Next option was to pull off, call home, and beg BD to fix it. Yep. That was a possibility. Not my choice but maybe #3 on the list.

Or stop at a service station and see if it was just some little nothing of a repair, though, any time your car goes THUNK! it’s probably not a little nothing repair job.

As for the story telling gig - well - the brain opened up to the possibility of canceling - accepted fate - then looked around to see if there might be a way to get there somehow, some time.

Just past Aylett, but off the main road, is Fleetwood motor shop and anything named Fleetwood has to be connected to the Acrees of King and Queen and Carol Lee Walker, so I had a couple of names to bandy about if I stopped there. But I’ve never been there before and they aren’t really on the highway. A little further on is the King William Exxon at Manquin and they’ll cash a check for you if you forgot to go to the bank before you headed off to Richmond and I know it’s a real garage, not just a gas station. That was my choice. To throw myself on the mercy of (almost) strangers and see what doors opened up.

By this time I was pumped. I always have faith in GWTs (Guys With Tools) even if it’s sometimes misplaced. I was ready to talk, to wheedle, to flirt, to sigh, anything to get my car fixed if it could be fixed or to find out fast that it couldn’t so I could make a decision about the school.

“Well, ma’am, it could be anything. The wipers, the motor, (ooops - that shaft aimed at the stomach) just about anything.”

“Can you look at it and let me know? For I have to tell a school full of little children (secret guilt words) that I won’t be there for them today.”

“Pull her into bay 1, ma’am.”

A second older GWT said that, loping out of a doorway that seemed to pour out an endless stream of GWT’s throughout the morning. This turned out to be the owner, the head honcho, Top GWT, father of the first GWT - A man with “20 years at Toyota, ma’am. They’re all built alike.”

Anxious minutes later, hood popped up, all the tree detritus in a car that lives out doors scooped out of the wiper base, caps lifted, screws unscrewed, I had my answer. The linkage had broken. That means a new linkage part. HeadGWT was very taciturn, the sort who muttered softly and if you were paying close attention you might be able to put 2 and 2 together, but he wasn’t going to speak directly to me. These GWTs are sometimes like that - didn’t do all that well in English, but were really good with their hands. The Heir GWT was just silent. But I was all antennae and ears and open windows and I caught the phone conversation HeadGWT made to Fleetwood motor shop and knew he was asking for a part for my car and when he said “yeah, it’ll take me 20 minutes to get the old one out” I knew it was going to be okay.

I borrowed their phone and called BD. No. I didn’t have the school's phone number. It was in a pile of papers I’d taken out of my purse that I really couldn’t ask him to paw through. "Just go on-line and look up the schools number and tell them I’m going to miss the morning performance but I’d be there by noon."

There were actually a couple of anxious phone calls - even more than I’d realized, as BD called around to see who might be able to pick me up and drive me into the city - someone with a car, since there would be no point in going if I couldn’t take my wheel and I wasn’t putting my wheel in the back of a truck. But the essential communication was that the school knew I’d be late but not all that late.

It took longer than 20 minutes to get the part. In fact, HeadGWT drove off to get it himself, while HeirGWT prepped my car. I sat in the garage knitting a sock for my mother - not a very onerous way to pass an hour. But I can tell you this - my car was back on the road again at 11 o’clock and I was at the school by quarter past noon.

Really - we ought always remember just how important those GWTs are - these men who have a shy and careful way of communicating - or can’t really communicate at all. The fellows who didn’t shine in the classroom but man - out in the wood shop or the motor shop - could they make things happen. And when you need your machine to work now and not a moment later than now - and what are you going to do?!? Those GWTs really do look sort of shining and knightly and gallant. And just maybe some chocolate chip cookies ought to get dropped off at the King William Exxon next time I’m driving to Richmond.

Happily, at J’s wonderful elementary school the children were patient, the principal was smiling, and everyone had that pumped up ‘We’re ready for a good time’ attitude and what the heck! I was ready to have a good time too. After all, my car was fixed. I love to talk. I can always tell you a story. Why - I can even make a story out of a broken windshield wiper! We condensed the performances from 3 to 2. These were the biggest audiences I’ve worked with yet - around 300 children each time. But they were the most polite and engaged children. They sat quietly, they listened with interest and I had a splendid time sharing my favorite things with them; songs, poems, history, stories and spinning.

This was the best way to end a wild and energized day. I couldn’t say it was an anxious day, though I had to think fast and decide things from a tight position. But at no time did I ever feel like the situation was going to collapse. It was just a different sort of day than the one I’d planned. And in the end it was an even better day, not a worse one. It was a great day. I absolutely loved being with that audience, I loved being in that school, I loved it that I could go take this happy feeling to my parents and spend an evening with them. In spite of the adventure part of it all, it was a blissfully happy day.

I’ll write tomorrow, about the Fall Mud Fiber Festival. There are wonderful tales to tell about that. But I’ve written enough words-without-any-pictures to share and I shan’t have any pictures tomorrow either. Besides, today is a DayOff for us government workers and I am going to savor it. I plan to clean the house - it’s in pretty good shape but still... - and knit on my sweater and read some of the marvelous knitting books and magazines I bought at the fair. Cheers to you all and Hooray for Monday Holidays.

posted by Bess | 8:14 AM