April 25, 2024

That Really Bunches My Panties…by Brendon Marks


This newspaper has much wider circulation than I ever expected.

The same day my article about Mother Nature was published I received a message on my phone answering machine. I was home, the phone did not ring, and all of a sudden the little message number changed from zero to one. I listened to the message. It was a husky woman’s voice saying, “So you think you’re so smart, well we’ll just see about that.” My caller-id box read “Out of area.” Basking in the glow of modern technology, I dialed star-six-nine, but only got a recording: “Mother Nature does not wish to speak with you at this time. Call back when you’re not such a bellicose belly-acher.” Two days later it rained over three inches in three hours.

You’re probably thinking, “Heck, our baseball team spits more than that,” but you’ve got to remember that our yearly average is only seven inches, and when this gully-washer hit, phrases like “wow” and “gee-whiz” were fairly commonplace. Let me tell you the whole story.

I have a gently sloping driveway 350 feet long. It is not paved. If it were, it would be filled with neighbors fixing to hit me up for a loan figuring that I had way lots more money than I needed. It is covered with ABC. For those who don’t know what ABC is, or know it by some other name, ABC is a mixture of gravel, sand, and dirt used mainly to provide a base for concrete slabs and foundations.

It also makes an excellent driveway surface because of its compaction properties which prevents transformation from driveway to mud-bog each time we get heavy dew. Why they call it ABC has always puzzled me, why not SDG or a variation thereof? There is another product called ‘inch and a half minus’, which I assume means that it is comprised of any material smaller than one and a half inches, but side by side I don’t think I could tell the difference. I also think that number is subject to interpretation.

The county road crew enters into this equation because they have successfully graded the county road in such a manner that a quarter section of open range (for you easterners that’s 160 acres) drains directly into the top of my driveway. Under normal circumstances this presents no problem, but faced with the task of having to dispose of roughly forty acre-feet of water, my driveway became a raging torrent.

It could have been much worse. The water came down the driveway, spread out a little on the flat area in front of the house, passed by, went down the bank, and into the creek.

Later, when I assessed the damage I concluded that this is a fairly efficient method for separating ABC into its component parts: A) a pile of gravel at the base of the driveway, and an opportunity to use my four-wheel drive without leaving home. B) A nice sandy beach where the lawn used to be, and C) one half inch of mud on the garage floor. The ruts in the driveway deep enough to swallow a Chevy Suburban were just an added bonus. Mother Nature knows how to make a point.

I probably should reconsider the article making fun of Father Time.

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