It was a beautiul day in the Missouri Bootheel on Saturday. It could not have been more perfect for a motorcycle ride, and I finally managed to shake loose and take one about 5:30. Just couldn’t seem to get squared away much before that, even though we closed at noon and it was my birthday. Still, it was a beautiful ride.
About 10:45 PM, I was winding down for the day and the phone rang. My son had decided to go exploring around the Ben Cash Conservation area "for fun and adventure". Unfortunately, he went in a Honda Civic instead of a jeep or 4-wheeler… at night… by himself. Following a track (I wouldn’t call it a road) down the levee, he managed to get stuck in a mudhole. He had to walk about a mile out to get a cellphone signal.
This morning there is enough residual mud to give you a vague idea of how spun-in that front wheel was. When I found the track he had turned down, I wasn’t sure my truck could navigate it, much less turn around and pull him out. Sure, I could have backed in, but it was about a mile to the fatal mudhole. As it happened, we were able to get a towing strap around the back axle and snake him out without too much trouble.
Speaking of snakes, I was a little concerned about snakes and chiggers and ticks (oh, my!) when I lay down in the mud to put the towing strap on. I only came away with one tick, and he hadn’t manage to attach.
My son noted that he was impressed with how I just dropped down in the mud and crawled under the car. What he doesn’t know is how much cleaner and easier that was than most of the calf-deliveries I did in Pocahontas, Arkansas. There I would drive down worse tracks, arrive in nastier mudholes, and lie down to deliver the calf from the cow who had already been down for a while. In addition to clay mud, I’d be sporting a veritable catalogue of filth: blood, placental fluids, manure, disinfectants, and many, many more. My wife and I used to get a charge out of a laundry commercial playing at the time: "Ladies, what’s your toughest kind of dirt?" "Oh, chocolate!" "Oh, grass stains!" Yeah, right.
I’m too lazy to look this up, but I’m pretty sure it was Edgar Rice Burroughs writing in Tarzan and the Lion Man that "Adventure is somebody else, about a thousand miles away, having one hell of a tough time."
The thing is, when everything goes smoothly, there’s no story to tell. So, do you like smooth sailing, or do you like to tell a good story?