To me, that husband of mine is sexy! His voice is deep and calm unlike my high, shrieking, un-calm blabber. I fall in to the transparent emerald of his eyes feeling like I’ve just landed on a grassy meadow in Ireland. His legs are muscular and formed like a Roman warrior. They are so appealing to me that if I could –I would taxidermy them and use them as a lamp just like the one in “The Christmas Story.” Geepers. I hope he doesn’t one day read this. He is a modest man with clean, soft hands. For all that he is he isn’t handy. That’s not a criticism. It just is what it is.
“Hussss-band,” I screamed from the Jacuzzi room!
I don’t know why I scream. He rarely comes on the first call knowing it’s probably just me wanting him to bring me a bowl of blueberries to eat in my bubbles. So I called again this time more emergent.
“Hussss-band! The hot water is scalding! I think we need to turn the temperature down.”
Have you ever said something and just as you did you wished you hadn’t? Just at the very moment I said it the water went luke-warm then cold and stayed there. That was late last week sometime.
Husband’s face has hair on it. I wouldn’t call it a full-grown beard but I would call it hairy. I like it. Besides. My new nickname for him demands he has a beard. “Mr. Edwards.”
You’ve all seen the popular television show or read the series of books, “The Little House on the Prairie?” I’m Laura and he’s Mr. Edwards. I told Mr. Edwards the hot water heater had gone haywire on us again.
I tumbled out of the barely filled, big Jacuzzi tub and fumbled in the cupboards for every pot I could find. Thank goodness for the electric stove as I was too bare to go cut firewood myself. You can’t boil water without heat.
Days passed as I attempted to locate the phone number of Barnes County’s best water heater fix-it fella, Tommy Odegaard. If Tommy were living in the television series with us he’d be Mr. Olson. He is kind, generous with his time and a perfect man to converse with. I needed Mr. Olson and his merchandise-a new hot water heater element. I had to find him first. But then…
Monday came along and my friends invited me to go riding horse. They shall remain nameless. I had to work and then go to a meeting so I arrived late. They had been riding for an hour before I arrived. I drove the prairie south of my homestead to find them. I passed a single, black bull in a ditch. He didn’t look like he had seen them ride by. I could tell by the scowl on his face that he didn’t even like me wondering. I kept driving south past Moon Lake, over a hill as a big semi truck with huge, round bales on a flatbed trailer passed. I had to pull over in the weedy ditch as he did. What a groovy site those big bales are.
My girlfriends and I finally met and I put on my Dan Post giddy-up boots. The horse got saddled and I joined the ride. Three middle-aged, peri-menopausal women riding horse on a fine summer’s day. We all have our own pain issue to begin with. My one friend slipped sideways because the saddle kept slipping sideways. She hung on for dear life but what a sight! Hard not to laugh when laughter is all that comes out innately! My other friend tried to hold a beverage in her hand while the horse began to trot. She learned you can’t hold on to the reigns while holding on to a cold beverage while a horse is trotting and you are laughing harder with each bounce. She laughed so hard that I grabbed my friend’s camera to capture it. I posted the photo online because the capture of her laughing is all it takes to laugh yourself silly even though you weren’t there. We could all use more of that. At one point we stopped to take photos of each other as a memory to our day. “Let’s take senior pictures,” my one friend enthusiastically said. She didn’t mean “senior” like in high school and that’s all I’m going to say about that. We de-mounted our horses. My inner thighs trembled without me telling my muscles to. My other friend had knee pain and the other friend? Well let’s just say her butt would be Nellie Olson if it were a character in the Little House sitcom. Saddle sores are real. She has proof. We sat in the grass and laughed our energy away. I challenge you to attempt to lift yourself into a stir-up after you’ve laughed a gut laugh with girlfriends. Laughter steals leg strength we’ve learned. We ain’t as limber as we once were but cowgirls like us sure do have fun!
The horses raced to get back to the barn after that late afternoon ride that turned into mid-evening. My friend shared her garden harvest with us before we left.
I drove home wondering if it would be too much to check myself into a care facility. I needed care if I just got off the horse not long before and already felt this stiff. I didn’t need to. I think I drove home already dead. ‘Course you can’t very well be dead and feel pain now –can you?
I can live without diamonds and furs, fancy cars and chocolate bars. I cannot live without my bathtub filled with hot water. I smelled like horse, my skeleton was suffering a near-death kind of pain. Mr. Edwards was asleep in the hay by the time I arrived home not that he could have done much but turned the stove on. I might as well have buried myself. Instead I gave myself a wipe down with baby wipes and crawled in to the hay with my man.
Today is Wednesday as I type. Mr. Olson arrived to our cabin to replace the hot water heater element. Our butt and back pains from riding will heal. In our lives together as friends we’ll fall off many saddles, get rubbed the wrong way by the world creating sores and we’ll gallop to our deaths learning all the rest. The big barn in the sky holds dances we hear.
The characters in my life write books of memories. Mr. Edwards’s green eyes and sculpted legs and I are falling asleep this night clean from the deep immersion in the Jacuzzi tub with the healing water Tommy Odegaard made hot for us again. The simple things-friends, water and love. I close my book and if I should die before I wake…enjoy your ride. I sure did. Giddy-up!
Ingstad lives on the prairie near Valley City and writes this column for the Times-Record.