Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once Upon a Mattress

We needed to purchase a box spring for the bed in our guest bedroom. We have a nice mattress, which Cadence used on her loft in our previous house, but the boxspring made the loft claustrophobically close to the ceiling, so I had given it to the Salvation Army. If I had known how much box springs cost I might have stored it.

Today I bought a brand new box spring. Because of liability issues -and now I know why- they won't help tie it down on your car, but they provided me with twine. Actually, I think it was jute macrame' cord. It didn't seem especially strong, so I used lots of it, tying across in several places and front to back twice. I decided to not take the highway and to drive slowly.

All was going well. I pulled over on West River Road and got out to check that it was still tied on tightly, and it was fine.

I was on 75th Street (a rural 2-lane road through rolling farmland) and could see our farm in the distance as I crested the hill, when I heard a quiet snap and the twine went suddenly slack. I couldn't see the boxspring in my rearview mirror, so I thought it must still be on the car roof. I slowed down smoothly to a stop and got out. It WASN't on the roof. Nor on the road. Nor in the ditch! What the heck!? I got in the car and drove back a little way to turn around and drive slowly along the ditch until I found it. But I couldn't find it! I pulled to the side, got out and walked along the road for half a mile and still couldn't find it. Baffling! I mean, a full-sized mattress has to make a pretty big rectangle-shaped flat spot in the tall grass. And it was wrapped in shiny plastic, so it should reflect the light.

A car pulled over and two women asked if I had run out of gas. I said no, and told the about losing my new boxspring. They laughed and offered to help me recover it. They also surmised, "it has to be where the grass is flattened in a rectangle shape." They said to hop in, so I did and we drove up and down a half-mile section of road, looking on both sides in case it somehow sailed across the oncoming traffic lane into that ditch. No luck. Then we all got out and walked up and down the edges of the road --no sign of a mattress.

The two women must have begun thinking that I had made up the entire story. Eventually they said they had to go, wished me luck, and I began bushwhacking my way through the bottom of the unmowed ditch. This time when I passed the farm with the large-looking and ferocious-sounding Doberman (for about the sixth time) he seemed especially crabby.

Finally, I found the boxspring. It had sailed past the tall grass, probably about 30 feet, into a shallow depression at the edge of a soy-bean field. Amazingly, it wasn't even slightly damaged.

I walked the half mile back to my car, drove home, hitched up the trailer, drove back and pulled over alongside the ditch. I muscled the boxspring up the embankment and flipped it into the trailer, and secured it tightly with bungee cords. I drove home laughing out loud, even though I was the only one in the car.

I suppose I should feel kind of embarrassed to share this ridiculous story--but I actually I feel a sort of perverse pride in handling this mini-catastrophe all by myself. Somehow it gave me confidence that I will make it as a farmer.

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