This wet spring brings to mind the year we decide Himself would go back to college to finish his degree. We saved for a year, sold some cows, bought a good pickup, packed up our meager belongings, one horse, and the baby and headed out to the university.
Surely we looked like a slightly modern version of folks from the Grapes of Wrath. What with the borrowed wood slates on the back of the pickup, everything we owned piled in, a mattress tied on top, and a ratty old horse trailer behind. Geez, Himself loved that horse of his, there was no way he was leaving him behind.
A good pickup was a necessary purchase, as we did need dependable transportation for the long journey south. Besides we got a heck of a deal on it as it was two shades brighter than school bus yellow and the dealer realized that no one else in three counties was going to be interested.
We lived in an apartment in town for a short time, but it was too pricey, so we moved over the hill from campus to a small ranch. The ranch was owned by an elderly couple who needed someone to care-take the place. In exchange we got pasture for Himself's horse and a small house. Actually a very small house, only three rooms, the main room with kitchen on one end and living area, with the only source of heat a tiny Franklin stove, on the other. Oh how I hated that tiny Franklin stove, it smoked, and was a bear to cook on when the electricity went out, which seemed to happen frequently. Have you ever tried to heat a baby bottle in the middle of the night by putting it in your armpit.
The little house sat with the front door facing a small river and the back door smackdab against a steep hillside. You had to travel about a mile on an old road beside the river to get to the "main" road.
Things were going along ok until it started to rain, and rain, and rain. It was one of the wettest winters on record there that year. The river was running high and fast, just like the little creek running in the back door and across the not so great room and out the front door of the house. There was no stopping it, so I just put sand bags on either side of it. It's funny now to remember stepping over the little creek running thru the middle of the house, to put wood in the stove, not so much at the time.
Himself decided it was getting a little too dangerous to stay, so he loaded up his horse and moved him to a horse ranch on higher ground. After more rain he thought it might even be too dicey for us to stay, but by this time the old road was under water. A friend got concerned, and walked in to check on us. We packed up what we could carry, put the baby in a sling on my back, and started the long walk out to the main road. We hadn't gotten far when Himself called a halt, he had to go back for something. After he got back to us we finished that long walk on the steep hillsides, in the rain, to the main road.
It was wonderful to be taken in by another college couple. It was heaven, especially since they had central heat and electricity.
After hot showers, a hot meal, and a few glasses of wine. I asked Himself what he had gone back for at the house.
"After all our hard work to buy that pickup, I'll be damned if I'll let the river take it. So I got the biggest chain I could find, wrapped it around the biggest oak tree, then around the axle on the pickup and padlocked them all together. That pickup's not go'n anywhere."