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green garages and white dirt

F O R A G E R
green garages and white dirt

13 April 2011


In our last episode, Mr. Rodillas was fraught with an onset of busy brain brought on by too frequent perusals of the musings made by the National Weather Service’s senior forecaster in Nardtown. Rod didn’t write his newsletter, consequently.
Talking minus thirty four tops at 20,000 feet. “Might have to issue a frost warning,” The Swami said. So Mr. Rodillas filled the garage with all the transplants that Felipe brought him on the previous Friday. You remember what the temperature was like around then. 97.
That was then and this is Ojai. Box canyon. Cold as Truckee. Hot as Coachella.
Garage was so full of bell peppers and basil plants you couldn’t step inside. On the Thursday night Rod called Johnny Blythe, around 11:30.
“ Fumple?, Blythe says.
“ Are you up, Blythe? Did you put those Dixie Cups out yet?”
“ They said it was only going to get down to 40.”
“ Better check your mercury, Blythe. Its already 29 degrees in Rose Valley. You’re going down.”
“ Really?”
“ If you don’t have white dirt at dawn, I’ll buy you new boots.’
“ Damn.”
“ Get out there and pop those cups on those tomatoes. It will only take you 47 minutes. Go ahead and time it.”
In the morning, Mr. Rodillas didn’t have to buy Johnny Blythe new alligator Luccheses. Rod didn’t even bring his checkbook. The Swami said it got down to 31 at the county yard and Rose Valley hit 24. Blythe had saved his tomatoes.
Friday night was colder. On Saturday they were all calling Mr. Rodillas a genius.
“ How’d you know?”
“ Practice.”
See, Mr. Rodillas gets mistaken for some flawless savant just because he has chopped his thumb so often he has a pocket full of band aids.
He’ll go By Cracky on you in no time, regaling of the time when Blythe and Highlove hatched that damn Beltaine Circus project for May Day, 2003.
May Day! That was apt. SOS: Ice storm almost closed the Pine Mountain grade. The party in Lockwood Valley looked like sepia footage of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, with the smitten tribe wandering around on the frosty mud with blankets over their heads. All of Pappy Rodilla’s wonderful tomatoes back in Meiners went black. Zucchini seemed to have had a run-in with a blow torch.
Funny thing about this recent event was that all the volunteer potatoes breaking out from years past died, but the lines of intentionally planted spuds were fine. People ask me why I plant flowers.
“ They look nice," I answer.
“ And the angels and divas enjoy them,” I say to myself.


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