Today started out so well. Or so it seemed. We’d had to curtail the desired Saturday habit of lazing in bed until after 8 am because the hay man was bringing the 100 bales of first-cut hay. Funny thing was when he called and asked my wife what time she’d like him to bring it over, he’d said “It’s gonna hafta be a little earlier than that …” to her requested time of 8:30. 7:30 it would be. Considering that the temperature (and dew point) were right about 73°F his delivery time was the smart choice. It meant about a quart less sweat per person.
Unloading and stowing 100 bales of hay into the barn with the stupid, wanna-be hayloft (it’s too short to stand up, and bumping your head or back on a collar tie is a requirement) may not sound like the best way to start one’s Saturday, but as a friend from work used to say, it beats a sharp stick in the eye. But then, I’m an advocate of early morning exercise, preferably not on a Saturday or Sunday early morning. Those mornings are for sleeping in, not for sharp sticks in the eyes.
Three serious farm-folk that we are, we completed the task in under an hour. While not exactly in the category of fun, it’s one of those tasks that must happen a couple times a year if one has a horse or horses. Or a pony, which is what we have.
After a quick hoeing of the corn, it was time to make the traditional Saturday breakfast. We’ve left off the bacon part of this tradition, since mine and my wife’s cholesterol stats were a little on the high side last year. This year it’s been just the eggs and toast, which is just fine. This morning’s selection of the largest 4 eggs for over-easy frying in butter (yes, butter) was pretty much incredible. All four eggs had double yolks! And not a single broken yolk in the flipping. The icing on this cake took the form of the first sampling, on toast, of the large batch of garlic scape pesto I’d made and frozen a couple weeks back. Mmmm.
Nowhere to go but downhill. I decided a quick bike ride would be in order. On the road, just after 9, heading south on Route 114 to Henniker. Took the cheapo Giant, the bike I tend to neglect in favor of the big, heavy Fuji Touring bike. The blue Fuji is for when I can take a big chunk of the day, not sure at the outset where to go. The Giant is lighter and I can ride faster, but I have to cut back to the essential items that can be stuffed into the Camelbak, wallet, keys, Leatherman tool, Clif bar and 2.5x reading glasses in case I should need to focus closely on a task like, say, fixing a flat tire. Oops, did I say that out loud?
Yeah, so much for beating the recent personal best (on the Giant I often try to see how many miles I can ride in one hour) of 16.8 miles. Almost in sight of the 35 MPH speed limit sign just north of Henniker, my front tire starts making squishy sounds. Dammit. OK, fair enough, it’s been a while since I’ve had a flat tire. And if you’ve seen 3 other cyclists changing tires so far this season, it’s your turn. My turn that is. So this is when I discover that the spare tube in the under-the-seat tool kit is actually an old, patched one. And the patch looks bad. More to the point, the little hand pump I’d been carrying on the bike, and used once a couple years ago, turns out to have been RUBBISH. Had my mood been less upbeat, I would have at least visualized chucking that stupid pump into the woods.
But several nice cyclists and a couple of motorists stopped to offer assistance, which I declined, pretty sure I could resolve this situation one way or another. One pair of cyclists, Henniker residents, just getting started on their way up to Lake Sunapee, offered to let me walk my bike to their garage, open and not too far, where I’d find a good quality floor pump to with with to reinflate my tube. I actually started walking that way before I called my wife for a rescue. While waiting for her, a couple more cyclists and a motorist with Vermont plates asked me if I was OK or needed help. Gotta love the cycling community, they’re some really nice folks. And what I needed to do Saturday was mow the lawn. That took most of the day.
My wife’s truck was nice and cool. Almost cold with all the sweat evaporating from me, and Oliver was in a state of agitated bewilderment. That’s his general behavior when in an automobile with my wife and I. He’s not sure of the destination, so he’s compelled to hyperventilate, whine and jump around. The Sunday morning trip to the dump is a much calmer deal. Just him and me. He knows where we’re going and that we’ll be back home in less than one dog-eternity: 30 minutes. He may see some exciting things, like people walking other dogs, but these things he handles with a degree of control.
In conclusion, an explanation of the title of this post. Obvious on the surface with today’s events, it also alludes to a line fragment in an early (1970) Jack Nicholson film, Five Easy Pieces. Can’t remember when I’d last (first?) seen this movie, but I watched it recently on Netflix streaming and was reminded why it had resonated with me however many years ago it had been. It’s a low budget period piece with interesting characters and lots of personality, and I recommend it. As with many older films, it may require some patience. Jack’s character has a one-way conversation with his wheelchair/dementia-bound father in which he sort of apologizes for never reaching his potential and intended career as a concert pianist. ” … auspicious beginnings ...” he says, by way of explanation, to his unresponsive dad. Dad just stares the thousand yard stare.