September 19, 2020

The Simple Life

Timothy Birdnow

It was a strange experience.

I haven't been to the Ozark Hilton, that fabled place of\ mystery and intrigue hidden in the mists of the Ozark Mountains. When the white man first arrived in this most ancient of mountains there were Native Americans who would hunt in this area - but they wouldn't live here. Why? They said it was haunted.

Perhaps they had better sense; certainly they had better sense than a particularly pasty white guy who is trying to live part-time in a house made of junk in those woods.

On the way down I made my regular stop. It's not a matter of choice; my body insists. That stop is an outhouse in St. Froicois State Park. I mean outhouse; big hole, bad smell, campers with very poor aiming skills. For reasons beyond my comprehension I have to go BAD whenever I pass this accursed place. I want to start a petition to name the outhouse in my honor; I am far and away it's best customer. The trip down was no exception. I know that outhouse like the back of my hand at this point.

At any rate, I arrived at the turnoff to my cabin but couldn't find the drive. Apparently MODOT decided that putting a cutoff from their road to my property obligated me to maintain the strip of land which they still own. It was all overgrown with weeds, and I couldn't see where the turn came in. This was critical because if I turned at the wrong place I'd drive into the ditch and get stuck.I had to make a full stop on the state highway and inch along. While the road isn't very busy at all (this is the backwoods) still cars drive sixty miles an hour along this road. One fellow coming the other way slowed up and blared his horn. Eventually I found my entrance and didn't fall into a deep ditch, so what the heck.

I'll tell you what the heck; two thirds of the way down the logging trail I use as a driveway a massive tree had fallen, completely blocking the road. There was no way around it. I had just had a tree fall and block the end of the road a short while back, but I could detour around it. This was different; I'll either have to try to cut it up (a major chore) or remove a bunch of young saplings.

At any rate, I did have enough room to turn the pickup around, so I wasn't in danger of being stuck. I had to huff it with all my stuff the rest of the way, not an easy feat considering I had to walk around the fallen tree and a bunch of brush.

I was just taking my stuff (I can't call beer and Cheetos gear exactly) up the path onto the porch when I noticed THINGS on my barbeque pit. They were wasps...HUGE wasps! I mean these things were the size of my thumb at a minimum. And there were at least ten sitting on the top of that pit.

Now I haven't seen any wasps at all there this season. None. Now I have a bunch of mutants right there on the approach to the cabin. Several of them turned and gave me the stink-eye, and I knew if I approached to closely they would buzz me in warning, and if I persisted I would get stung up. I didn't have the safety of the truck to rely on either. Sadly, I am not at the top of the food chain in this place.

So I had to detour around to come in from the other side,stepping in a hole and twisting my ankle at one point. It wasn't too bad but I had to stay off of it as much as possible for the rest of my stay. And there was no leaving the porch lest my friends become upset.

I was lucky; they were black wasps, ugly thoguh they be; red wasps would have attacked me the minute I got too close. Black wasps are better-natured. I don't know about these ugly mutants though.

So that ruined my plan to work on the porch (or much of anything else.) I wound up sitting on said porch the rest of the day.

There was something surreal about the place. I can't put my finger on it, but for the first time I felt I shouldn't be there.

Then my cell phone disappeared. I was servicing my kerosene lights, getting ready for nightfall when I received a robocall from a doctor's office confirming Cathy's appointment. I set the phone down and it was gone when I looked for it later. Just gone. I spent the rest of the night and the next morning tearing the cabin apart looking for it. No dice. Either some critter toted it away (and they're probably ordering gift platters from Hickory Farms, or at least getting from Grub Hub) or it fell off the table (which is a bit wobbly) and managed a million to one shot, falling in a crack between the porch and the cabin. I can't imagine it happened, but it is the only possibility.

At any rate, the wasps were gone the next morning, which was a pleasant surprise. I still had to bushwhack my stuff to the truck. I didn't pick up a single tick, fortunately! That is truly amazing in that place. But I don't know about chiggers; I'll find out in a day or so. I usually hit at least one bad patch of chiggers whenever I bushwhack.

I was glad to get up onto the state road, and even happier to get home, where I took a long, needed nap. In the summer I usually close up the "inner cabin" and inhabit the add-on, which is brighter and has better bathroom access (just open the door) but the downside is I sleep in a chair with no foot rest. It does not make for restful sleep.

Anyway, I had to go to Target and buy a new phone. Fortunately for me I have simple tastes (well, I can't see well enough up close to use all the gadgets on an I-phone) so it was relatively inexpensive. I hope the critters don't run up a bunch of long-distance charges on my old one.

Oh, I forgot to mention the alarm went off on my Ford F150 at six a.m.; had to go out and turn it off. I hadnt set it and can't for the life of me figure out how it happened (it never goes off). As I say, it was a wierd trip.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:27 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 1122 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Tim, I'm starting to think you should sell that place.

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 19, 2020 11:36 AM (Xrkl6)

2 Dana. To whom?

Posted by: Bill H at September 19, 2020 11:21 PM (vMiSr)

3 Bill, Dana may be right; I've had offers. I received one from an outfit in Colorado recently, for instance.

I have a secret...the land has a lot of marketable timber, worth good money. I call it my retirement plan. I'm going to make  YUUUGGGE profit on that place when I do cash out. Not only will I make much more for the land than I paid for it, I could have it logged and really clean up. Considering how little I paid for it ($8,000 for 20 acres) and that taxes are about as much as a stop at McDonalds once a year, it's well worth keeping.

I do wish I had a place a little more upscale though. Plumbing and electricity would be very nice, for example.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at September 20, 2020 06:20 AM (uU0YU)

4 Tim, after re-reading this, I'm convinced the Lord is sending you a message! Have it logged, pocket the money and then sell the place to some Democrat you pick out of a lineup somewhere. Tell him it's a great fixer-upper for somebody who doesn't mind a little work. "Reno" is all the rage these days, as anyone who frequents HGTV knows. Not having cable TV, you won't know, but trust me, even frail blondes and beautiful redheads are doing it. Martha and I watch 'em all the time; it beats the heck out of the news.

You could use the money from the timber to get cable and broadband Internet!

Posted by: Dana Mathewson at September 20, 2020 03:44 PM (Xrkl6)

5 Nice Place...worth keeping

Posted by: tanya at September 23, 2020 01:40 AM (UHoRa)

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