May

Okay, May, thanks. You can stop trying so hard now. Save a little for the other months.

Living where we do, a common discussion at our house is, “What if we lived in a place where the weather was always good? Would we still appreciate it?”

Sunday was one of those great days. Not warm, but respectable for May. The birds were singing, the flowers were blooming - even the clouds were suitably wispy and elegant, drifting downwind in the gentle breeze.

We had guests for lunch. A low stress meal and pleasant conversation. My Dad stopped in for a short visit and we talked crops and a mini family reunion that’s coming up. At 95, it’s been a long year for him, basically a winter in solitaire confinement. Vaccinations and springtime have him blooming a little bit, too.

After lunch we took a leisurely stroll around the farm, accompanied by an honor guard of cats and dogs. I explained that it’s a beat-up old farm, but it’s our beat-up farm, and it was looking its best on Sunday. I’ve started excavation for the deep winter greenhouse and our guests asked suitable polite questions. It’s almost always a mistake for someone to express an interest in what I’m doing. I try to stay low key, and then I get enthusiastic, and go into greater and greater detail. In my zest, I won’t notice their eyes starting to glaze over or that they’re frantically seeking a way to change the subject. I kept myself pretty much under control over the greenhouse project and we wandered down to the old barn foundation and discussed a few options for redevelopment. From there, we visited the orchard/chicken corral and admired our giant rooster. He was an oops in the chicken order, being both an odd breed – he's twice as big as the others with large hairy feet - and, of course, a rooster. He is blissfully unaware of the amusement he provides as he lumbers around the chicken corral exhibiting a level of self-esteem as large as he is.

Late in the day, I sat down at my computer to try to get a head start on this week’s column. My wife poked her head in the office and suggested a walk. I’d been trying to justify another piece of chocolate angel food cake and easily convinced myself that the calories expended in a leisurely stroll would more than cancel out the chocolate and whipped cream.

We wandered through the cemetery for about an hour, visiting old friends and relatives. The little dog came with us and spent the evening straining at her leash, hoping to offer battle to other dogs that were way out of her weight class. She was a little like a belligerent drunk in a bar, relying on friends to pull her away from real trouble.

Cemeteries make for such odd neighbors. A very straightforward “SAM OLSON” rests next to “FLORA MATHILDA.” A cluster of Swensons and Andersons had an Alphonse Anatola right in the middle. I don’t know if Alphonse was welcomed in life, but he’s now a valuable member of the neighborhood.

Many of the earliest tombstones are of Civil War Veterans. The Dakota Conflict in 1862 pretty much emptied Europeans out of Big Stone County, and if you’d lived through Gettysburg or Cold Harbor, winter on the prairie probably didn’t look too daunting, especially if some free land was part of the deal.

It was getting on toward dark when we got home. I went out to the orchard to lock up Big Foot and his harem. The plum, apple, and pear trees are all in bloom and one whiff would have made the perfume designers at Chanel weep in despair.

I went in the house, took off my shoes and had a piece of the leftover chocolate angel food cake.

I know there’s steep competition for the Best Place to Live award. But I gotta say, in May, we’re a contender.

Copyright 2021 Brent Olson