BRODY: When enough is enough, fabricate a little
The first summer we lived on our farm in Winchester, it seemed like every friend we ever had wanted to visit.
After all, none of them knew about rural living, and we said, “Yes,” to all who asked.
But, enough is enough, and we wanted a break.
First, we had many friends on Key Biscayne in Florida, as our businesses were located there, and it was an easy lifestyle. But, they were not rural people, and we seemed to be the best way to learn about what it’s like for all of them.
Here’s the story.
“Why, sure you can come to visit us! Glad to have you. How long will you stay? Oh, a week at least. Well, great. And who all did you say would be coming? Oh! John’s sister, too? And her little boy? Well, that’s super! That makes how many? Seven of you, huh?! Well, that’s just super!”
I couldn’t believe this long distance call. Why, we hardly knew these people.
Ever since we moved to our little farm in Winchester, everybody wanted to visit.
I think the word “farm” fascinates people.
Maybe I’ll change it to Jean and Gene’s Retirement Haven instead of Jean and Gene’s Farm. Or, how about J&G: 25 Acres of Perpetual Repair.
My mind was racing. How could I address this problem?
I don’t mind company. Lord knows we’ve always had lots of it when we lived at the beach.
Somehow, visiting with the city folks does not include chipping in on all the extra expenses of having multiple houseguests. How about hot water for nine or 10 baths a day instead of two? Or food? Oh my gosh. Constant need for food.
Nor, does it include helping with all the chores that keep us busy constantly. All the things done for you in the city are not done for you in the country.
Then, an idea came to me, and I came back to this Earth and to this conversation on the phone.
“Well, say! You sure are coming at the right time. It is a constant battle keeping up with the constant work around here,” I said. “We need the entire house and barn painted. That is, after we get the fence done.
“Trouble is, we bought the paint at a good sale last winter and have put it all in the basement, but — I know you will think this is just plain silly — there is at least one, seven-foot-long snake down there. He dropped his skin across a water pipe before curling up for the winter. It like to have scared me speechless when I saw it. And when I went down there last week, there was another skin draped there, near the window.
“Actually, we’re sure his entire family lives down there.
“But, hey, I know this won’t bother you guys, so finally we can get started on the painting as soon as you come and bring all the paint upstairs.
“Then, we’ve been scraping down all the fences before we paint. Don’t you worry one bit. There will be plenty more for you to do. I’m sure the scraping noise won’t bother you. I don’t know why it bothers me, but it wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t for all those pesky ticks in the grass. They just jump on your legs and arms while you’re working. You won’t mind ticks, though; you know it’s all part of country living. And besides, lots and lots of Clorox in your bathwater usually kills them. Getting them out of your head is a little harder, but hey, it’s all part of the fun.
“And one thing is sure, when nights come, you’re sure ready to fall into bed from exhaustion. The only problem is, out here in the country there are darn near as many spiders and other crawly things inside the house as outside, and nighttime is when they come out.
“Why just last night, I was lying in bed reading. I looked up and saw an entire family of spiders walking right across the ceiling. But listen, I’d rather have them, than all these big wasps that get in constantly. We still don’t see how they get in, but they definitely aren’t friendly. They live in little wasp houses on the front veranda so we can’t actually use the veranda or the front door. But then, in country houses, people use the back door anyway.
“Well, listen, Gene just walked in. He heard me tell you about the snakes in the basement, and he told me to tell you not to worry one bit. They are probably all out in the yard because it’s warm, and anyway, it’s mating season.
“Hello? Hello? Hey! Well, whaddya know?! I think we’ve been disconnected!”
Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.