The Ride of the Polkyries (with apologies to Wagner)

Published 3:13 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

Feeling the pressure procrastinators often experience, I gunned my dually up the Saluda Grade to find the rug of my dreams

(on clearance, no less!) at &dquo;World of Carpets&dquo; in Hendersonville

and after delivering it triumphantly back home, realized I had but

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half an hour to pick up my sofa from the upholsterers in Mill Spring. With a shudder I looked up at heavy black clouds, hanging low on the horizon and figured if I drove like Dale, Jr. I might just make it to the shop, get it loaded and skedaddle back home before the heavens opened on my new, carefully chosen, sage green brushed-cotton trophy.

There&squo;s a prayer to St Jude that I often see published in local newspapers that promises if said for 9 consecutive days, one&squo;s prayer will be answered. I didn&squo;t have the luxury of 9 days but

rationalized if I blurted it 81 times, I might just beat the rain, so as I slung the truck along Highway 9, all the terriers heard above the din of the engine was, &dquo;St Jude, help of the hopeless, pray for us….St Jude, worker of miracles, pray for us…&dquo;

With a spray of gravel, I pulled up in front of the shop, threw down my money, muscled the sofa into the bed of the truck and was flying back down Highway 9 towards home. A scattering of tiny drops hit the windshield. I threw the truck into 5th gear and, at the same moment, caught sight in the rear-view mirror of of three green cushions sailing through the air, reminding me that I had specifically requested that the old cushions, originally sewn to the back of the sofa be unattached so that cleaning&bsp; would be easier.

The terriers&squo; eyes bulged at the torrent of language flooding through the cab as I stood on the brakes, shoved the engine into reverse and before the Tahoe

behind me had the chance to turn the cushions into road kill, leapt onto the street like a mad woman, gathering them into my arms,

waving traffic to go around and then chasing the truck which had begun rolling with two shrieking Jack Russells at the wheel as the emergency brake hadn&squo;t been

engaged. Jumping breathlessly back into the truck, it was evident that St Jude was suddenly called away to find a lost puppy or someone&squo;s wedding band as it began to rain in earnest.

&bsp;The whole point of living in the country, in my view, is

that everyone knows everyone else and folks are willing to help their neighbors. There is also

a theory that one could be savaged by a Chow-Pit-bull mix should one arrive, unannounced, on a stranger&squo;s property. Realizing the only protection I had was an empty

&dquo;Big Gulp&dquo; that I could hurl at anything that might meet me with unbridled aggression, I jerked into the driveway of a modest brick ranch, tires squealing, to pull beneath their carport and wait out the rain.

&bsp;Within a couple of minutes a screen door cracked open and a grey haired woman asked if she could help me. &dquo;Oh, I just needed to get my sofa out of the rain, if

you don&squo;t mind&dquo; was my reply which seemed to satisfy her,

although she mentioned that green wasn&squo;t her favorite color and it would show dog hair. A few

moments later she reappeared to offer me a glass of tea which I declined and, after that, she wondered if I wouldn&squo;t mind dropping off a stack of newspapers at the recycle center if I happened to be passing that way. I was and&bsp; before long, with a great heap of paper separating the dogs and skies that began to lighten, we began our trek home.

I couldn&squo;t help but wonder if I would have been able to take such advantage of a complete stranger

if I still lived in the city. In Los

Angeles, I probably wouldn&squo;t have actually seen the owner of the home, but, rather, would have been explaining myself while handcuffed in the back of a

police cruiser, or, depending on the neighborhood, would have been ignored with the exception of a spray of graffiti across my vehicle. But somewhere in Polk county is a woman who took the whole episode in stride as she has with everything else she&squo;s

probably seen living out in the country: rabid dogs, coon hunting at 2 a.m. and bored youths

clobbering her mailbox. At any rate, I thank her kindly.

And, ma&squo;am, you&squo;re right: it does show the hair.Editor&squo;s note: Comedienne Pam Stone writes her column for The Tryon Daily Bulletin twice each month from her office at her home in Gowensville.