Friday, March 30, 2007

in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious

Yes, folks, that's my driveway in Just-spring, when the world is puddle-wonderful.

I just met my first truly droll Yankee, who lives in the house you can see to the left of the bon. He's an electrical contractor, perhaps a few years older than I am and the kind of flinty Abe Lincoln-looking Yankee that Norman Rockwell loved to paint.

As I pulled part-way into my driveway last evening, he was just pulling into his long driveway, so I backed out again and drove down to say hello. I told him I had learned, a bit too late, to park out by the road this time of year, and he told me that there's a rock ledge on the right hand side of the property (as you're looking at this) and the back that forms a nice cup right under the buildings and driveway, so that the heavy clay stays wet much longer than the surrounding area. By contrast, he said, he put in his own road maybe 50 yards away and has never had to touch it since, though he did start with a layer of roundstone for better drainage. But it would take tons of gravel to make my driveway into something you can use in the spring.

We stood and talked for about 20 minutes, during which time his wife arrived home and joined us, and I have to say it was the funniest conversation I've had since I got here and maybe the funniest I've ever had in which nobody laughed except me. Truly a droll Yankee, he delivered his lines in a classic Maine accent with a twinkle in his eye but only a hint of a smile.

He mentioned a mutual acquaintance in the general area and said, "She can be a very nice person," and when I didn't laugh, he looked at me out of the corner of his eye and added, "I said 'can be.'"

And when I had said that, if I were to be offered the house for sale, I don't think I could afford all that would have to be done to it, he agreed, telling me, among other things, that it has no septic tank, only a cesspool, and the clay leachfield doesn't absorb that stuff much better than the driveway absorbs the runoff. He characterized the house as having "no basement, just a hole that won't support a house," which is absolutely true.

That was about when his wife got home. She and I had waved across the yards, but this was our first conversation and I said, "I thought I'd come down and say 'hello,'" to which he remarked, "I was thinking of coming up and saying hello to you, but it was too muddy."


1 comment:

Sherwood Harrington said...

Hey, the driveway has lots of tire tracks in it and no mired vehicles, so it can't be all that bad.

Looks a lot like Chenango County (upstate NY) in melt-time, truth be told.