The Principle

Today’s farm/township update comes to us from Ben.

Kelly and I saw “Come from Away” last Sunday. It was fantastic. In the lobby we heard a guy walk up to his wife and say, “My glasses fogged up and I was following the wrong lady in a red jacket.”

It was so cold! How cold was it? It was so cold I wore sleeves. It was so cold I saw a duck standing on one foot. It was so cold the handle on the water hydrant by the barn wouldn’t move. Then it warmed up for a day and the chickens came out, and the hydrant worked, and the ducks just looked at their corn.

In the winter, we get pheasants coming in to eat the corn I throw out for the ducks. Each year there’s a couple more and this year it’s 9 or 10. It’s pretty cool. The crows have learned there’s free food here too. Kelly doesn’t like the crows.

Here’s a picture of some dark colored blobs down there. Those are pheasants.

I’m on our local townboard. Been on there since 1998. We have one house on a major road that is city on both sides of this house, and there is 100’ of sidewalk in front of that house. I don’t know if it’s a ‘walking path’ or ‘bike path’ or ‘sidewalk’ but It’s the only sidewalk in the township. (because the rest of the township is rural or subdivisions that don’t have sidewalks). The city clears the walking path out in this area because there are no home frontages here, but they have been skipping that 100’ in front of this house. And the property owner has never plowed it. As it’s in the middle of this stretch of path, it’s a problem for people using the path. I learned all this last winter when I got an angry phone call from a city resident who lives out there and uses this path. I didn’t even know it was a township problem. I didn’t know the homeowner and I didn’t know if he had health issues or what reasons there might be for him not clearing the sidewalk. Took me a few days to connect with him, during which, the county snowplow just pushed all the snow back off the sidewalks and so the path was open. Turns out the guy just refuses to clear the walk on principle. Huh. He figures he didn’t ask for this sidewalk, so he’s not going to plow it. We, as the township, don’t have a sidewalk ordinance and we don’t want to make one for 100’ of sidewalk when we have 33 miles of roads to deal with, therefore we couldn’t force him to clear it. And the city says it’s not theirs, so they don’t want to clear it (even though they’re clearing a mile on both sides of it). Last winter the weather warmed up and the problem went away.

This winter I’ve been watching it as I drive by this area. I’ve seen the guy out there with his small tractor and blower doing his driveway, but he still isn’t doing the sidewalk. And I can’t decide if I admire him for sticking to his principles or if he’s being a jerk. And the city now is clearing it as they’re driving through there anyway. Which makes sense, but I could also see them leaving it… on principle.

Twenty-five years ago, just after I got on the Townboard, we repaved some roads in a subdivision. One resident never paid his share believing no one would come and tear out the road. Jokes on him; the company DID tear up 100’ of blacktop, leaving a section of gravel on this road. Didn’t take long for him to pay up and the road to get fixed. Maybe the neighbors convinced him.

We have a mystery going on at our townhall. It’s an old building, looks like a one room school. (Maybe it was the school that got blown across the road in the great tornado of 1883, or maybe it was always a townhall; depends who you ask and what maps you choose to believe).

For the last 3 years we’ve been picking up Phillips vodka bottles in the gravel parking lot. I wish LJB was still around; we need a good story for this! We have our suspicions… once a week, there will be 1, 2, or sometimes even 3 vodka bottles. Very few are empty. Some have never been opened! Most will be between ½ and 2/3’s full. We’ve got a collection in the hall now of 14 bottles, and there are a lot that have been picked up and thrown out and don’t make it to the hall collection. The hall is at the intersection of two major roads. People park there in summer and ride bikes or jog. A school bus stops there. Sheriff deputies park there to do reports. 

Why are you not finishing the vodka? And why are you leaving them there? Bonus points if you can tie in the glasses fogged up guy.  

91 thoughts on “The Principle”

  1. I keep following the wrong woman which makes my wife mad but she does not know I am a closet alcoholic so I sneak off to there and drink vodka which she will not smell on my breath but I am ashamed about it so I never finish the bottle and once I just dumped the whole bottle instead of drinking it.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. I was into making Handsome Johnnies for awhile, but after John Prine died my glasses fogged up with too many tears. I couldn’t see that I was no longer following Handsome Johnny because he had died of covid. Someone wearing a red coat decided an intervention was necessary and took the rest of my cheap vodka to the Town Hall building in an attempt to report me for my alcoholism and confusion. I quit drinking at that point, but my glasses are still fogged up from my tears over John Prine.

    Liked by 5 people

        1. Both yesterday and today it took five tries. Yesterday, I didn’t have a single letter right after the first two guesses. That’s hard to do, folks.
          Wordle 224 5/6

          ⬜⬜⬜🟨⬜
          🟩⬜🟨⬜⬜
          🟩🟩⬜⬜⬜
          🟩🟩🟩⬜⬜
          🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Even if you don’t get a single letter on the first two guesses, you’ve eliminated ten possibilities, so you still got valuable information from those guesses. Sometimes what’s not there tips you off almost as well as what is.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Oh, I don’t mind, but it does pretty much preclude that you’re going to get it in three guesses. So far I’ve only missed the first one, when I didn’t realize what the yellow letters signified. That makes a difference.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. My husband says that he follows someone else because his glasses are fogged up but I’m concerned that it’s because my old red coat doesn’t smell good. I’ve read that vodka can sanitize laundry so I thought I would spritz the coat. But it’s terribly embarrassing so I’ve been trying to do this behind the old town hall on the parking lot. But every couple of days when I go back for another spritz, the vodka is gone! Who is stealing my vodka? Are they trying to get between me and my husband?

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Dearest Baboons, I am the Vodka Fairy (VF):

    I decided to take up residence in rural Rochester, MN 3 years ago, after finding a woman in a red coat who drinks way too much vodka. She needed my help. Sometimes, even in the winter when my glasses fog up, I follow the woman around taking her Phillips Vodka Bottles and depositing them at the township hall parking lot where she cannot find them. This is not a challenge, because after she has tippled for a bit, she goes to sleep, then drops the bottle. But the township hall people collect these after I drop them off. What do they want with them? The real mystery is, nobody there drinks the vodka, they just collect it. Then the story shows up on this quirky little blog? What’s with that?

    Liked by 6 people

  5. The chef at an exclusive Italian restaurant in Rochester is so finicky about the vodka he uses in his pasta sauce he only opens one bottle a day, and won’t let it sit overnight, as he considers it spoiled by the air if it sits. His sous chef is charged with disposing of the bottles, and since his glasses are fogged up with the boiling water from the pasta pots he drops it off at the town hall, thinking it is the landfill.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Nobody can know about the information I’ve been passing to him, not even my wife. We needed somewhere to meet, somewhere nondescript and out-of-the-way, unlikely to arouse suspicion. When I won that abandoned storage unit at auction and it turned out to be filled with cases of cheap Phillips vodka, I knew we had our meeting point and we quickly devised a set of signals that would establish when we would meet. I live near the town hall. He drives past it on his way to work. We meet at 8:00 whenever I have information for him. If it’s to be 8 AM, I empty out more than half of the bottle. If it’s to be 8 PM that we meet at the storage unit, I leave more than half the vodka in the bottle. Either way, I leave it in a conspicuous place in the town hall parking lot, where he can pick up the message without picking up the bottle.

    Last Saturday and Sunday there was some sort of repaving being done at the Town Hall and along with the paving equipment parked there, the pavement itself was disturbed, so dropping off a bottle seemed inadvisable. I remembered he had mentioned that he was going to a performance of “Come From Away” on Sunday and luckily was able to get tickets and surprise my wife. After the performance I spotted him in the lobby and slipped up behind him.

    “It’s more than half full,” I murmured to no one in particular, returning then to my wife with a cockamamie story about my glasses fogging up.

    Liked by 9 people

  7. The vodka burns with a clear blue flame, pleasing to the Spirit. We meet in a small clearing in a copse within walking distance of the town hall, where we park.

    The clearing is a locus, a spot of numinous energy since time immemorial. As we arrive, we place our offerings in the bronze crucible—oak galls, raven feathers, a locust carapace—what do you give to One Who Has Everything? Some gatherings there are more offerings than others and the Gift requires more of the vodka I’ve brought to consume it. I could use other forms of alcohol, but at the liquor store where I work it’s easy and so cheap that sometimes I even pay for it. We never use vodka from the same bottle twice. To do so would be disrespectful to the Spirit.

    The oak galls produce a curious brownish smoke; our Guide complains that it makes his glasses fog more easily for days afterward.

    When there is a full moon, we dance. Then we receive our instructions.

    Liked by 10 people

  8. My kids are making me crazy. Thursdays are my days off so I arrive for the bus early and I can sit here alone and drink vodka and no one pays any attention to the car over there. I bring a couple cans of mix, but when the deputies pull in I have to stop mixing and ditch the bottle before driving away. I mean, I’m not stupid. Or that couple with the tandem bike; they’re so goofy happy as they park and go riding off… please. give me a break, no one is that happy.
    I thought at first I could just return and pick up the bottle and carry on. Ha. Soon learned some jerk is taking my vodka bottle! I’ve tried hiding it but it’s a bare parking lot; there’s nothing to hide it. So I bring another bottle the next time. And I just never know how many interruptions I’ll have or how much I’ll get to drink. That one day, I had two bottles and lots of time and wouldn’t you know, the deputy pulled in almost as soon as I did, and then those bikers, and then the bus! I never had a chance. I sure can’t let the kids see the bottle or they’d tell my ex and all heck would break loose then. His glasses have been fogged over since he met that hot loose thing he’s shacked up with now. red coat, blue coat, no coat; he don’t care.

    Liked by 8 people

  9. I am shocked, shocked, that Baboons have not acknowledged that today is National Seed Swap Day!
    Those are vodka seeds. A fogged glasses guy has been giving those bottles in exchange for whisky seeds.

    Liked by 8 people

  10. i dont know who to feel sorry for the cop or the locals
    he has had a lifetime of challanges with his alcohol issue and now he drinks n the parking lot where they always park and hefigures no will will ever know its him
    he weighs 205 lbs so to make certain he is never legally drunk the 12 oz he consumes over the course of his 8 hours allows him to remain below the .7 legal limit in case he is ever called on it. but rather than take the chance of getting caught with a close to empty bottle he figures the 60 cents worth of hooch left in there isnt worth risking consequences over
    the old building the parking lot is attached to has virtually no visitors except the black and whites and no one is ever going to suspect us. they will think its high school kids or make up some cockamamie story about a character they saw 100 miles away at play in the cities
    people from around here are just plain dense. i do drink with my gloves on just in case the want to fingerprint the bottles as the collection of empties grows
    i keep hoping some kid will pick up the last little bit in 5 or six bottles and get caught coming home drunk and that will be the end of the questiong as to where the bottles come form but so far we just seem to have do gooders picking up the litter and either throwing it away or i hear now there is a collection in the corner of the local hall.
    oh well i drive over to lacrosse and buy a case of the pints every couple of weeks so they cant be traced back to me in minnesota.
    i keep a bottle of mouthwash in the front seat in case anyone ever gets a whiff of the alcohol on my breath.
    a little green minty taste to end the shift is a thing to signal my days end and get me ready for bed
    tomorrow is another day and this boring job in the cop shop in small town mn sheffiffs office is going to keep me from ever doing anything more than issuing tickets for small town crimes
    maybe its time to go into night watchmen wirk . this police biz isnt the prestige position i thought i signed on for. people dont love us anymore.
    respect. forget it. today we get tolerated and the pay is ok but not worth the hassle

    deputy x

    Liked by 8 people

  11. OT: I’m home with a bad cold since Friday night – did a home antigen test yesterday in case it’s Covid, which came up negative. Will go to clinic to test tomorrow. I have no sense of smell, but maybe that goes with a cold too? It’s been so long since I had even a cold, I can’t recall…
    Have any of you used a home antigen test, and if so, was it accurate?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A positive result is more trustworthy, I think, than a negative one, especially if you are experiencing other potential symptoms.

      Like

        1. Suppose to be about 70% accurate on identifying if antigen is there. Like Bill says more likely by far to miss it than see what is not there

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I take them now and then. My daughter and her husband who are in and out of nursing homes take them routinely. We have never had a postive but we have never had any of the symptoms. I believe the question is more about taste than smell but mostly both.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. i got my toenail dealt with on friday with an ongoing ingrown toenail. i went it to get it trimmed with the clippers that get in there and get the intruding edge of the nail cut back. the doc was a perky little woman who told me if she just numbs it up and permanently cuts out that part i will never have to deal with it again . a couple questions and i give the ok but i have already committed to deliver until whatever time friday night and i asked if id be ok. the assistant said the person they did recently went to ballet practice with her ballet slippers and did toe stands. i cringed but believed her and so with a novacane foot i went out to deliver and was ok until the novacane wore off i was toast. the toe was sensative enough i couldnt do either the gas pedal or the brake pedal as usual so i finished my required commitment and went over to hang with ari and denver at daughters house.
        everything was good but ari complained he didnt want to eat food only drink water. but he was drinking it like it was going to provide relief. i asked what that as all about and tara said they had told him water is what you do to feel better so he was trying to fight off his bad stomach . tara said she was concerned ari might have covid because its a 2-3 day incubation and he had been to school monday and wednesday evnen though the teacher had taken an unexpected absence this week suggesting there was covid in her house.(teacher has a young kid at home) so i told her to get out the coved home test and i held him while we did the much hated nose swirl and waited. he went nuts wanting water and i insisted they stop the water because it was all coming back up in just a minute. and sure enough up it came and into the bathroom for the puke drill where you make him feel better and then is covid test proved positive.
        rats and double rats
        debbie and my moms birhtday party had been on tuesday and my whole family had been exposed. debbie had flown off to chicago to celebrate her sisters 50th birthday and our two chicago daughters were hanging with her so now they were exposed also. her sister is a nurse who is going trhough a divirce from a sever trumpster who got caught cheating a couple months ago so the advice she offered that if you dont have symptoms dont take the test is surprisingly wrong but in line with her history.
        everyone feels fine and no symptoms
        my mom and kids are all testing negative aris mom and day are negative and his broth shows no signs at age 1 but we’ll see.
        i started feeling like crap after hanging at taras and the next morning went to get one of her tests and sure enough ive got it.
        like holy cow life changes when you feel like crap but cant leave your house for 5 days. spencer the son in the basement is not a good caretaker and resents having to do stuff for fear of exposure and he is kind of a me me me guy anyway.
        i have failed in terms of making him a caring human being
        4 out of 5 aint bad but he is the 5th. my other 4 are all great but he and debbie resent the imposition so i will hang out for another couple days
        im thinking maybe a couple bottles of vodka couple be the answer. gray goose or stoli with a spot of olive juice is my poison of choice

        i am triple vacinated so i will report back about the intensity of the infiltration
        achy flu like is no fun but im not feeling like deaths door

        i am super jealous ben. i really wanted to see that play but i didnt want to risk covid. glad it was good. i hope it comes around again soon

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Oh man, tim, speedy recovery from both the toenail debacle and Covid. A perfect example of how rapidly this thing can and does spread. Hope Ari is better in a hurry, too. Not sure vodka is the answer, though I’ll admit it sounds good. For a second there I thought you were concocting a story in response to Ben’s post.

          Liked by 3 people

    3. I have a friend whose daughter is a teacher, and her whole family had COVID when we were in the Delta surge. She said she had two negative PCR tests before finally testing positive.

      More recently, my younger niece was ill right after having a friend over to watch a movie. The friend got sick first and tested positive. My niece then got sick, and had two negative tests, but they were probably false negatives. She lost her sense of taste and smell. That would likely have been Omicron.

      When you see those health department numbers, there are lots of false negatives in there. As well as cases that are never reported.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. At the theater the other night, I heard a guy telling his wife that his glasses were so fogged up he had followed the wrong woman.

    That took me back to last summer. I own a juice bar and smoothie shop in town, a business I started a couple of years ago. It’s been a struggle. There’s another shop in town, a franchise shop with all the name recognition and advertising that goes with that. This isn’t a small town but there are only so many potential customers. If I was going to make a go of it, I needed to come up with a little something extra.

    I’m three years sober now but it doesn’t seem to get much easier and so I get together with my sponsor about once a week to talk about my temptations and my successes. But I don’t tell him about the vodka.

    It started out of desperation and as a kind of experiment. I got ahold of a pint of cheap vodka and began slipping a little into certain customer’s smoothies. Not the kids, of course, but as a former drunk, you get a sense for who would respond to a little kick to their smoothie. When I first started, I wasn’t sure how much to add. I overdid it with that guy last summer. He took a big slug of smoothie, gave me a funny little smile, and his glasses fogged up. He’s been a regular ever since.

    I have to be careful. For one thing, I don’t have a liquor license. For another, Even in a town this big, word gets around. If anyone saw me and a vodka bottle together, the shit would hit the fan, both at home and with my sponsor. So, in the morning before I open, I empty the bottle into a little pitcher and hide the bottle. At the end of the day, if any is left, I pour it back in the bottle, then I get rid of the bottle. I try to vary where I dump it so that nobody notices a pattern but on the days when I get together with my sponsor, I don’t have time to find another dumpster. The town hall is on my way to his place and it’s got a big anonymous parking lot. Cars park there sometimes for a while, so nobody thinks anything about a car pulling in, lingering a few minutes, then driving on.
    I don’t even get out of the car. I just open the door a crack and let the bottle slip out. Hopefully, no one will be any the wiser.

    Liked by 8 people

  13. A memory: I have told before about the road to our house. To walk to school we walked up a short hill then across a mostly flat area and then to the top of a steep long hill down to the bus stop. The top of that hill has one of the prettiest views on the north shore. Over Two Harbors up the shore to Silvr Cliff and also to the southwest. We could see about 60-70 miles we calculated of the Wisconsin shoreline. We were the only residents about the gravel road. Now it has many homes along it. As you can imagine the top of that hill was a favorite “parking place.” When we walked along that road or in summer road our bikes on the flat part or down the big hill to play with firends we patroled the top of that hill. My father made a big deal all the time that we were not to touch the balloons that were often dropped in the road. We had a stick hidden to pick them up and carry them off into te brush. And we removed the alcohol trash, in early days almost always glass, often dropped in the road. Some of the bottles still had liquid in them. Once my much older brother found a half empty fifth of whiskey hidden in some brush. Someone was going to come back and finish it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. In the beams of the old grainery, up in the gap of the floor joists, there was a glass bottle of beer that my brother stuck up there at some point. It was many years old when I found it and we left it there, as a fond little memory. As far as I know, it was still there when the building collapsed.

      Sometimes picking up ditch trash for the township, we will come upon a whole pile of alcohol bottles. Bills story of ditching the bottles reminded me of this one time, there was dozens of bottles of hard stuff. Jagermeister, Fireball, things I didn’t recognize… someone had had quite a party. Or several smaller ones.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I think it depends on which one they frequented first, though at this point most of their customers probably don’t remember their original store.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Me too, and that’s because there was not a Lunds store anywhere near me when I discovered there was an alternative to Cub and Rainbow. But there was a Byerlys – with carpeted floors, soft lighting and a much more relaxed atmosphere. That store is now a wonderful Asian market.

          Like

  14. My fingertips dripped with the essence of her. They had come too close to catching me. I had gone to see a showing of “Come From Away” with my wife at a tiny theater in town. Petite exactly like she was, not my wife… her.

    After much deliberation my “better half” decided to wear the wine stained peacoat that I so strongly recommend. I only bought it because it reminded me of… her, but had given it to my wife as a birthday gift. The magnificent color that had once beautifully highlighted wavy copper hair and tulip shaped lips. It didn’t look nearly as lovely on my wife.

    I had discreetly slipped the travel sized watercolor brushes and paint into my overcoat. The large breast pockets perfectly hid the cheap bottle of vodka and even left enough room for my smallest notebook. It was the perfect way to keep her close to my heart.

    How many hours had I spent in the glow of early morning sunlight, bent over the edges of that rough paper? Avoiding police officers while waiting to catch a glimpse of her on the running path. I couldn’t remember. Too many. It was hard to keep her in sight while lurking underneath the dark twisted branches in the forest. My hands desperately trying to engrave the image of her into my notebook.

    My mind was drifting when I realized that the frigid air had made my glasses fog up. I had been making my way towards the car while following the wrong red jacket out of the theater. I was being careless again. My wife was several feet behind me. I had to explain myself. Using my hot breath to ease the numbness in hands, I grazed the stubble on my chin and mumbled an excuse for my actions.

    Long after the movie had been over with yet before the sun graced the sky with an ocean of color… I would slip out of bed and make my way to the path. The vail of darkness obscuring my true intentions, I dressed in jogging shorts and a runner’s shirt underneath my jacket. I needed to look the part of being innocent. The bottle of water firmly in my clutch helped me blend in even better and would also serve as another useful tool.

    I was slinking my way into my favorite spot when I spied ember flames licking their way down pavement. Her lips pursed in concentration for the next breath and she wore freckles that kissed the creamy skin on her shoulders. Sapphire spheres scanned the wood line but were swollen and ruby red underneath.

    She had clearly been crying again and it killed me not to know why. “I love my wife.” I whispered. We didn’t fit together (my wife and I) but I never wanted to hurt her and I truly loved her. My love for my wife however, wasn’t enough to keep me from coming back here to see her. I dipped my brushes in paint and got to work. I used the cheap vodka in my pocket to add elements to the scene that water bottle couldn’t accomplish.

    When I was finished, she was gone and my fingers were stained with Daniel Smith’s Perylene Red watercolor paint. It was the essence of her. My copper muse. On my way home I ran into an officer who was keeping an eye over other joggers.

    “Have a good run? What have you got on your hands there Mike?” He asked suspiciously

    I had almost been caught last time by my wife over the same evidence. It threw me into a panic so tucked my fists into the pockets of my shorts and decided to attempt to change the subject.

    “Hey Sam! How’s your wife doing? You know it’s been a while since we had you both over for dinner…” the small talk distraction worked beautifully.

    When I was finally on my way again, I stopped by the old town hall building to discard the vodka. In my haste to paint as quickly as possible, I seemed to carelessly pour large quantities over my brush. Sometimes this left me with half a bottle, occasionally more, and many times it’s left me with far less.

    My head rotated to be sure no one was around to witness me sliding the bottle out my pocket. Listening to the satisfying “THUNK!” as it hit the ground gave me such an overwhelming feeling of pleasure. My little secret. The evidence of my visits just lying there to glisten in the light of day as I waltzed home.

    “The Muse”

    This was SO much fun!! Thanks for the amazing idea and for letting anyone play along!

    Liked by 3 people

        1. I JUST this morning discovered this sight while browsing in the “discover” section of WordPress while I was trying to wake up. I live in the woods in the mountains with no WiFi other than the one bar I get on my cell phone (LOL). I have to put my phone in a certain spot above my bed in order to check messages and get web pages to come up. On days when I’m working online, I take a trip into town to use the WiFi at a coffee shop. So I only do the best I can but honestly, I get more time to read and write at home without the WiFi. So not having it doesn’t bother me 😉

          Like

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