Friday, December 25, 2015

Iron Suicide, Cow Migration, Death Notices

What I had initially thought was a dramatic attempt on the part of my iron to attract my long -absent attention turned out to be its final fatal gesture of defiance. It committed suicide by jumping off the top of my washing machine onto the tile laundry room floor. I heard a crash, and discovered it lying on the ground. I did not, however, determine the extent of its injuries until this evening, when I picked it up from the ironing board preparatory to doing several years' worth of postponed pressing, and found that it had split in two. I'm glad I discovered this before plugging it in or attempting to fill it with water, as either or both actions might have yielded disastrous if not deadly results.  I hate ironing. I think this unfortunate appliance sensed my distaste and decided it could no longer bear the situation.

 I drove down to Dublin and back today to fetch Grandmommy up for Christmas. I had originally been slated to drive downyesterday afternoon, but thank God I procrastinated a bit, because an horrific  thunderstorm broke an hour after my schedule departure time, and I would've found myself driving in darkness and downpour. This morning and early afternoon we experienced a blessed--if temporary--respite from the rain, and though there were puddles everywhere (and all the cows in all the fields I passed on my outbound trip were clustered in demoralized clumps in the sodden pastures), I didn't have to turn on my car windshield wipers, though I did have to turn on the air-conditioning! On the way back, just north of Bartow, Grandmommy's and my northward travel was briefly delayed by a large herd of milk cows migrating from one fenced field to another. Four and five abreast, more than a hundred sashayed across the asphalt without being forcably directed – two men on foot wearing knee-high rubber boots stopped auto traffic while the cows deliberately strolled out of one gate and over the road and through another to a field where their midday meal waited in large bins. Grandmommy was seriously impressed--she said she'd never seen such well-behaved cows. None attempted to break away from the herd, but all proceeded in a neat marching column, much like rows of trench-weary soldiers in films from World War I. The road was coated with mud kicked up by hundreds of cloven hooves. Only one cow stayed by itself in the old field – apparently it was feeling antisocial, and did not choose to join the general exodus.

 Speaking of following the herd, a peculiar trend in vehicular stickers has blossomed hereabouts in recent years: the mobile memorial. In large white letters on the tinted rear windows of minivans, SUVs, and trucks, there will be a phrase like "In memory of" or "In memoriam" followed by the name of a beloved person and their birth and death dates. My mother always makes sardonic comments every time she sees these, and remarks that it makes it look as if the person died in the car in question. I don't know if this is a fad throughout the United States or just in the American South. It does not seem to be limited to a particular ethnicity. For years there have been makeshift memorials, fitfully maintained, erected at spots on roads and highways where deadly car accidents took place. And I know a lot of people get tattoos to remember the departed. This automobile embellishment just seems to be a peculiar combination of the two practices, with unintentionally hilarious results, as Mums' deliberate misinterpretation shows.

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