I can be a bit of a Type A personality. I tend to get impatient when things take longer than they should and I fret over time management. It isn’t natural for me, but there are times while living in the country that I am forced to stop moving so fast and just experience the moment.
We have wanted to replenish our guinea population because we have lost ½ of our flock. The hatchery will only take orders of 30 or more and our coop isn’t big enough to accommodate that many. We were given the name of a local woman, Mary, who raises guineas and we were told she might have some to sell. Steve contacted her and boo ya, she had twelve 6 week old keets. Perfect.
On the scheduled pick up day Steve called Mary and said we were on our way and would be there in about 30 minutes. As we headed to her place to pick up our new additions I turned to Steve and asked how long this “quick” purchase was going to take. A shrug of the shoulders was his only response. We found her very rural address, but unfortunately she neglected to have her electronic gate open for us. The driveway was endless and we couldn’t see a house. Great. We also had no cell service to call Mary so we headed back onto the main road in search of civilization and a cell tower.
I was getting antsy. This was already taking too long and I was mentally noting all of the things that I needed to be doing back at the farm. I was in no mood to piss away my afternoon picking up guineas. As we approached the house I said “five minutes and we are out of here…..right?” Then I met Mary.
Mary is an elderly woman with bright eyes and an easy laugh. She has a pet cow residing in the front yard that she saved from slaughter as a day old calf. “Biggest pet I never planned to own”. She lives alone and her daughter worries about her. “But she shouldn’t worry because I have a loaded gun right inside the house on the dining room table covered by today’s newspaper, so watch your step”, she said with a laugh. She treats wild guineas as house pets. “I wrap the babies in paper towels so they don’t poop all over me while I rock with them in my chair. They love having their necks scratched”. She and her husband tightened their belts, retired early, and traveled the entire United States three times over in their camper. Mary was a bus driver for 20 years so she handled the wheel while her husband navigated. “I always drove because my husband couldn’t back up the camper without running over everything in our path. He once dragged a fireplace for over a mile.” Mary’s husband passed away several months ago; died of a heart attack right there where we were standing. It didn’t take much to realize that she is still trying to process the loss because she spoke warmly of him in the present tense. “He is a good man and we always have a good time”, she said as tears streamed down her face. She turned her gaze towards the camper parked in the distance and swore she was going to head out again.
So 5 minutes turned into 2 hours. As we drove off with my heart in my throat I realized that without planning it, I just had one of the most powerful experiences of my life.