159 / 365 – Mud

JACKIE CAMPBELL

We finally got some rain. I wasn’t expecting it. I was up in Newcastle when the sky went dark off to the northwest. It came down on us pretty quickly. I was checking on the cows — they had broken through a section of fence and gotten into the back pasture. I had pulled the truck off the road when I saw them and was starting to think, how was I going to get them to move out, when I heard the thunder rumble and thought I might as well get out of the way. Half the time they don’t seem to even notice it, but every once in awhile one gets spooked and starts to trot off somewhere and that gets them started. Pretty soon they’re all running off. I stayed on the other side of the fence and sure enough, when the second thunderclap sounded, a foal started to run up the bank by the draw there. Then his mother went after him — I’m guessing that was his mother — and another and another. Pretty soon they’re all running up the bank and out of sight. Oh well, I thought, at least it’s to somewhere higher and sort of in the direction of the barn.

Then the rain came, like someone was suddenly dumping a bucket over me. I sat in the truck and let it pass. Even with the wipers on high, I could hardly see out the window. I thought it would let up in just a few minutes. The way the rain’s been this spring, it’s like it just gets started falling and then remembers it’s supposed to be somewhere else and it blows off and leaves pretty quick. That’s what I was expecting. This storm was different. I sat and sat. I turned on the radio, tuned in the country station from over in Minot. There was a good song on and I was hardly paying attention. Then another song. Pretty soon I thought, heck it’s been half an hour, what’s going on?

It’s been so dusty lately but the rain really soaked in. When the rain slowed down to a regular deluge, I turned the wheel and aimed for the road and hit the gas. The thing just spun mud out behind. I was shooting big clods of black mud behind me, sliding slowly down lower.

I think I might have gotten stuck but Ray Weld passed by just then and I waved and he stopped. Had a tow chain in the back of his pickup. Had me out of there in just a few minutes. I think he got his jeans pretty muddied up, though. I owe him one. And I will have to think about getting one of those new cellphone things that people are getting. I never thought I needed one but I wonder how long I might have been stuck if Ray hadn’t come along. Or how wet, if I’d had to walk to the nearest farm in all that rain.

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