My husband Riley was down the road with his biggest tractor and our son, Jason. They were pulling a city-slicker’s car out of the mire created when Saskatoon’s Creek revolted its banks and attacked low-lying roads and highways with mucous-y, unforgiving mud. Whatever possessed even the most inexperienced driver to challenge a water-swollen country road with a low-slung, city-street or racetrack-only sportster escapes me. Riley didn’t comment before starting back with Jason to attach chains to the forlorn auto. I knew what he was thinking.
Riley extracted the city dude from his marooned vehicle before the ooze reached the windscreen, filled the vehicle, and soiled the gentleman’s three-piece. He left “Mr. Leslie Barton, Jr.” to watch salvage operations with me on our long driveway high ground. It only took Mr. Barton ten minutes to get comfortable with the aroma from our nearest pasture, uncommonly pervasive, thanks to the saturated ground.
“Lucky, Mr. Barton, Jason’s here to help Riley get the farm back in shape. Current what it is, it’s difficult for one man to position the chains underwater so’s not to damage the vehicle.”
“Back in shape? From the rains?”
“No. Riley’s coming back to farming after twelve years in the legislature. That was pretty much full-time.”
“No. Got himself elected. Railroaded, actually, into a term. Figured while he was there to tidy-up a bit. Ran into a lot of flak. Did it anyway. Made some enemies. Riley and his like made inroads, but it seemed like every time they plugged a hole, someone would open-up another.”
“So he tossed-in the towel?”
“No. Folks elected him to second and third terms. Was talk of running him for governor. That capped it. Riley’d had enough ‘government.’ Reckoned to go back to farming full time. Thought he’d have more control, more success dealing with the weather. Hardly any corruption to be stomached.”
“Farming’s tough, Mrs. Embry.”
“Yeah, but we like it.”
“You wanna be careful, though.”
“How’s that, Mr. Barton?”
“Several people smarter than me, tell me farming this way will be a thing of the past in just a few years.”
“Reckon I allow that.”
“And you and your husband are going to stay in farming?”
“Didn’t mean the farming, Mr. Barton.”
“Several people smarter than you.”
“Suspect it’s probably more than several, but that really doesn’t say much for them either, does it?”
About then, the old Moline yanked the sportster from the mud like the cork from a bottle of Bordeaux. Riley, Jason, and the Moline dragged it like an unwillingly brat child, mud and water cascading out, to the foot of the driveway. Mr. Barton was crushed at the sight, hardly recognizing I guess, I’d just rubbed his city cheeks in a different mud.
© S P Wilcenski 2020