Monday, February 20, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 49th Installment

I even looked this phobia up in the Encyclopedia Britannica and found out I am not the only one. A fear of intense cold is called cheimatophobia, and I have it. Whew. But, being the well trained soldier, with a healthy fear of embarrassment or punishment, I marched on. On a cold day the old log barn was not much help. Sure, there was a roof so there was no snow inside, but there were so many holes and spaces between the logs, that you could throw a cat through the wall about anywhere. The temperature inside was only slightly higher than the temperature outside. On this forty below morning, and other mornings nearly as cold, the vacuum pump needed help starting to turn. After milking a couple of cows, the moist air from the milk would freeze the main vacuum pipe. The Old Man had put a smudge pot below the end valve, and we would light the fire and crack the valve so it would suck in the flame. Pretty savvy. The bigger problem was that the moist air would freeze the machine’s pulsing valve and the vacuum lines in the milking machine itself.
This one has stopped, and Whitey is only half done,” Russ stammered through chattering teeth as the cold had soaked to the bone.
Mine was running slow, actually only hitting about every third stroke. “Look at it this way,” I was trying to be the optimist to offset my irritation at Russ. Let’s shut ‘em down, pack ‘em in the house, and throw ‘em in the shower under hot water. This will make the chores a lot longer, but look at the upside: we can get out of this frigging cold and warm up a little. When it was this cold outside, I got real nervous, like I was going to die.
Suddenly Russell’s voice became real even and clear, “Casey is a panty–waist. Casey is a scaredy–cat, a real chicken – Brawk–brawk–brawk, Rrrrrrrrrrbawk bawk BAWK!” Putting me down always warms the cockles of his heart.

The hour of milking took over two hours that morning.

Hey it’s way warmer,” I announced to the whole family a week after the big freeze. “It’s only five below zero right now. It’s almost summer!”

That’s 35 degrees warmer than before,” Edith said, doing the math.
Come on Russ, let’s go kill some jackrabbits!” I exclaimed.

Now?” Edith said unbelieving. “Its night time and I just made cookies.”

Ooohoo, that’s a hard choice. Let me think about it a while,” I squeaked in a cartoon voice. “Let’s kill jackrabbits!” I yelled the next instant.

You didn’t think about it, you clown, I’ll wrap you guys some cookies, and I’ll get you a jar of milk. How do you shoot anything in the dark?” Edith’s question was well reasoned.

No milk. It’ll freeze,” I was still playing the comedian. “Duh, we spotlight them.”

500 more words tomorrow

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