10/3/08

Swawmp Woman

My sister began reading my secret blog and asked me why I had picked a countrygirl theme when I was officially a Swawmp (yes, the spelling is right for the speaking where I am from) - woman!

Play back to 1988. Dave is a Subcontract Administrator at the Boeing Company. I am a Cost Analyst. My assignment is to manage/monitor the subcontractor budgets and make sure the one's who administrate them are keeping everything within budget. This is NASA/Military money, budget is a floating term in that world. But at Boeing budget meant budget, except to the subcontractors and those administrators. So, there was a continual battle between accountants and those administrators regarding "visibility" and "status" and "completion progress" as all these things impact budget forecasting and monitoring.

I met Dave and immediately began working towards straightening him out/kicking his a... to make sure he didn't mess up everything with his subcontractor. And so it began...He hated me and I loved making him hate me more. He was city bred, raised in Chicago, returned to Huntsville where he was born after his ever how many useless years in the military (I like to say Army here because he was Air Force and it STILL annoys him!). I was a girl born, raised and still living in the country...right across the road from designated wetlands/swamps...who embraced her "countryness" and never made apologies for my forthright attitude and complete inability to understand WHY anyone would waste their time negotiating when cleary presenting the facts was much faster.

Our conflict within that program was well known. So, when his boss suggested we actually have a date- we were shocked. That would be mixing one assh... (him) with one perfect accountant (duh- me). But, he called me - not once but several times and I finally relented after he begged me for days on end to give him a chance (yes America - this is MY story and I will tell it how I remember it!)

The rest of the story is pretty evident...EXCEPT our third date. My mother is a southern raised woman just like me. I still lived with her and my younger sister - across from that swamp and in early fall, the ground in that area becomes very ... spongee. But Dave had a truck - and he was convinced it was capable of handling the land in that area. So, on the third date, he parked in the yard, fearful of parking in my Mom's way as she was going to town to shop. He was and still is rather intimidated by her forthrightness and independence but they have learned to love each other just as they are - they did all along except his fear overwhelmed his ability to appreciate that she had an amazing sense of humor.

Mother left for the store, Dave and I got ready to go and headed into the yard. We got into the truck, he put it in gear and gave it a little bit of gas. But...we sat there. The wheels were turning, but the truck was going nowhere. I immediately knew the problem. My front wheel drive Honda would have gotten out, but that truck, with rear wheel drive and no suspension, just continued to dig deeper into the ground! It was a truck designed for city slickers, not a truck designed for farms. Dave was shocked at this knew revelation.

My sister came out when she heard the engine revving and Dave told us both to "stay on the porch and I will handle this". We chuckled at one another as he continued to shift from reverse to first gear and dig deeper, deeper, deeper. His temper was rising as he saw our amusement and his panic was setting in. He didn't know that country folk are not offended by ruts in the yard...he's from the city! He didn't know that my mother would laugh, he was certain that destroying her front yard would result in banishment from her place!

Finally, out of pity for his state of panic and anxiety, my sister and I began attempting to explain to him HOW to get that truck out of that rut. "Put sticks, boards, rocks ...in the hole - under the tire" my sister said as she began shoving stuff under the tire now dug in to almost the axle.

"You don't know about this stuff, you barely know how to drive!" he told her, completely offended by the fact that she assumed she could know more than him.

"Do you have a shovel somewhere, I can shovel some stuff under the tire and get some leverage" he said to me.

"Sure, but a shovel won't help, you need boards, something solid in order to...." I was responding when he cut me off.

"GET ME A SHOVEL...I can get this out" he said.

Now sister and I were both amused. We headed into the house to retrieve the shovel from the utility room and laughed out loud while we were there. When we had once again gained our composure, we returned to the yard with the shovel. By now, however, our "McLeroy humor" had set in and we began to agitate him with our comments, deliberately testing his anxiety to see what sort of outburst we could get.

"Do you think that shovel will lift your truck like a forklift" I can't remember if it was me or my sister who asked this but a light went on in his head - a very dim one in his state of panic.

"Get me a board" He said.

OH - he was figuring it out we decided as we located him a board. He took the board, put the shovel on it like a see saw and wedged the blade of the shovel under the tire.

Rae and I looked at one another in a bit of confusion but more in joyful anticipation of the next incident. And yes, America, as he lifted that tire with that old shovel, the handle of the shovel snapped in two.

"Oh no" Rae said. "I think that was Grandaddy's shovel!"

"Yes it was" I said.

"What - why the HELL would you bring me an antique shovel. Now I have to get this truck out before your mother gets home - she is going to HATE ME - THIS IS NOT FUNNY! Will you please quit laughing!" he yelled at us.

This scene continued a bit longer but exhaustion soon set in and then defeat. Rae and I finally managed to feel sorry for Dave and began reassuring him that Mother would laugh but he was STILL convinced that country folk view yards as do city folk and that his reputation with her was ruined from this point forward unless he got something done.

We did what we had intended to do all along. We called Jerry Mansfield, a local farmer with a tractor and requested that he come and pull Dave out of the yard. Jerry got there post haste, hooked up the tractor to the back of the truck and, within minutes, had the truck back on solid ground. Still, Dave was digging frantically with the remainder of the shovel, trying to cover up the hole begging....

"help me cover this up, if we pour some more dirt and the cover it with grass she will never know"...he said

"Sure" Rae said as she was standing in the hole, the ground coming above her knees '" we can just HIDE THIS!" at which point she and I had to retreat back into the house in order to laugh.

I think Mr. Mansfield assured Dave that my mom would not cast some evil spell upon him but would laugh and Dave offered to pay him. Of course he refused and as he was pulling out the driveway simply said "That's what you have to expect when you date a Swawmp Woman!"

To this day, our friends from that time call me by that name. To this day, Dave (now endearingly) calls me by that name on occasion. And...to this day, my Mom bends over laughing when my sister and I relay the story.

Dave replaced her shovel by the way....he bought her the most awesome coal shovel you have ever seen for Christmas. Unfortunately, the original shovel was just a common garden shovel!

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