that is how many a statistical revelation spues forth from my husband’s mouth. We will be talking about some random topic and then, as the conversation ensues, Radames will hit me with it: the statistic, the one to give me pause, think twice before I ever carry the laundry basket to the basement with my Birkenstocks on again. Here is an example,
“Do you know how many people fall down the steps carrying laundry with Birkenstocks on?” I pause. “Wow, I hadn’t thought about that, I better be careful.”
The nation’s number one worrier relieved as I proceed to replace my sandals with my sneakers, before proceeding to the basement.
About a year ago, I realized data did not follow the inquiry. So I decided to start following up on all these random statistical innuendos that populate my dear husband’s head.
First, how was it that he knew so many statistics? It is true that he could win: Who wants to be a millionaire without a lifeline BUT, did he really know that millions of people slip on banana peels that fall from the kitchen counter every year?
I began inquiries with every startling statistic reference as they rolled off his tongue with unquestionable authority. I looked a lot of them up. He is right about many of his statistical declarations but now, I am holding him a bit more, shall we say, accountable.
Saturday nights statistic was a doozy: mid way through a discussion of beavers, my dear Radames spewed out his best statistic ever.
At the end of a dinner party, he asked the guests:
” Do you know how many beavers are killed every year by the trees they cut down?
Just like me, the dinner guests paused and took note. I imagined them thinking, cause I used to do it, wow…hmm… this guys pretty smart, must be a large number. A kind of Colombo moment settled over the dinner guests at that moment.
But, aha, I piped in…”Now, really, are you sure this isn’t a Ramism…one of those stats you pull from the sky.” We all laughed.
Curious I looked it up tonight and a quick Goggle search revealed that one poor beaver did succumb to his own handiwork in 2015. One on record…leaving the billions and billions of other crushed beavers out there in never, never land…at the end of the question…do you know how many ?
In the Fall of 2012, my husband started mowing down our squash patch. Usually full of acorn squash, butternuts and a variety of gourds, this particular year the patch produced almost nothing. The occasional relief from a summer drought did not provide enough rain for this low-lying patch of earth.
Before beginning to mow, Radames glanced around to see what creatures might be hiding among the bent stalks and drying leaves. Creatures looking for seeds and other vegetation. He spotted a grass frog, also called a leopard frog, and tried to get it away from the mower, but it jumped into the mower deck shoot. Radames stopped the mower and grabbed the frog. He walked it over to the pond and was about to throw it in when he envisioned the bass and thought “Why save the frog just for the bass’s dinner.” He proceeded to the tree-lined creek that feeds the pond and set the frog safely down among the grass and rocks.
Moments later, Radames began to mow ad watched a kangaroo mouse hop out of the squash patch and off into the woods. He described it to me from the little hopper’s point of view.
There I was in the forest, munching and munching, the sun just rising over the eastern branches: I felt safe and cozy among the long trunks. The morning bird made a little sound as the rush-hour traffic slowed to a gentle swish in the background. I heard the occasional plane and frog jump, a normal day here.
Then I heard a bang and a boom and saw large blades coming toward me. The stalks were tumbling faster than I could move and the blades were right on my tail. Could I hop to safety? Could I make it across the wide green abyss to the next forest? I began to hop, then fear paralyzed me, I began to hop again, fear stopped me again. Finally, “hop hop,” I told myself and I went bonging across the green.
Silence, the machine stopped right at the edge of the green abyss. It was no longer after me and although my current homeland disappeared, I saw more on the horizon. As I hopped away, I thought I saw the alien on top of the machine tip his hat in my direction, smile and say, “Be safe little guy.”
My husband and I were talking late at night about what we saw during a lovely summer day.
Oh, he said, “I was walking near the lower pond and I saw the most beautiful fox running toward the Western field.” He went on to describe its golden-red color and the way it ran through the Western trail, long beautiful grasses on either side of it.
I then thought about my trip home and the beautiful animal I saw lying dead at the edge of the neighbor’s driveway. “I think I saw that fox.” “Where?” asked my husband. I told him.
“I wish you hadn’t told me that,” he said.
Perhaps one day, when we see these beautiful animals as road kill, we will cover them up, one by one, with a sheet. A day of reverence…this was actually my husband’s idea. I think it is a good one.A day of passage, a writ of honor.
Artifacts a country story from an old blog 11/09..the car is still here but there is less of it
In any environment, there may be those pieces of human history left over that try to tell their own story. On the property here, there are neat things: glass bottles piled in a heap; large boulders that line hedgerows between farmland; and four abandoned cars.
The cars are placed throughout the property,
when you reach the pink car, you know you have almost reached the southern end of the land. Closer in, toward our house, is the decaying car featured in the picture. You may not even be able to tell it is a car.
Since the beginning of my life here, I have made up stories about who sat in these cars, and why they were dumped in these spots. Through the mist of time, I recreated Bonnie and Clyde or their 1940s, 50s, 60s counterparts and had them running in the middle of the night to our house where they paid the owner to dump their car.
“Nah,” said my husband, “this is just what people did with trash back in the day, put it on the farmland.”
Then one Sunday night, I would say circa 2000, I cannot remember now, a phone call came at 10pm.
“Sir, this is the state police office.”
“Yes, what can I do for you?”
“Does your son have access to some old cars?”
My husband’s son lived out-of-town then. “Yes,” replied my husband. “Why?”
“Well, he apparently gave one of the license plates to this young man we have just pulled over, do you know a Bud D?”
“Ok, that is possible, Bud D, is his friend.”
“And, this license plate belongs to a man wanted for killing a very important person a few decades back, we will be over to check out the cars tomorrow.”
“Oh,” replied my husband and hung up the phone.
“That was weird” and he told me the story.
We were both gone the next day and no note was left signifying the police stop.
The cars looked unmoved. Nevertheless, what I learned from that is something like the old statement about paranoia, “just because you make it up, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.”
The artifacts around us tell a story. This car has been here since before my husband moved here in 1979. We no nothing about the specific owner, not even the name.
Pictured with this post is a delicious glass of water that came up from about a hundred feet below our home. It contains sulfur* so people have scrunched their nose up and remarked on the rotten egg smell that occassionally wafts around the air. Today it tastes wonderful to me and all the plants my husband is trying to keep from melting. I have also indulged in 3 ice cold showers to keep my sanity as I try to accomplish things in this heat.
*sulfur springs use to be what people back in the day use to seek out as “The Cure”. I do not have the hard data but it is out there if your interested.