Some city people talk about country folks as if they “fell off a turnip truck.” I hate to admit it, but I’m thinking maybe they have a point — in certain situations.
When I was 12, my 15-year old city-raised cousin, Leela, spent the summer with my family. She was totally grown up — and pretty. Actually, she was more than pretty. She could charm the socks off any male — human or animal — that came within her view.
Our place was about 15 miles from town, the last two miles dirt road. By the time she’d been there a couple of weeks and gone along on our Saturday shopping excursions everybody around knew her.
Usually, my dad had trouble finding hands to help out on a day-work basis when we had special chores, like branding calves or baling hay. After Leela’s arrival he suddenly had more young guns showing up looking for day work than he could handle, and they hung around longer. My mom ended up counting extra people for supper regularly.
Mostly, Leela and her admirers ignored me. I was, after all, still a “kid,” in their opinions. Plus I was a tomboy with no feminine charms.
Even so, I followed them around, and boy did I learn a lot. One day Leela touched a young cowboy’s cheek (where whiskers were just learning to grow) and then dazzled him with her flirtiest smile and said, “I bet you wouldn’t mind bringing me a cold drink of water from the house.”
The lovestruck guy grinned right back and said, “My pleasure, Leela,” and disappeared for half an hour. After he left she gave me a conspiratorial look and said, “I’ll figure out something interesting for him to do when he gets back.”
When he returned, proudly carrying a thermos of water and even a cup to pour it in, she sipped the water and then turned on the dazzle again. She let him hold her hand while they walked back to the barn, me following along.
Suddenly, she pointed to the crabapple tree between the barn and the house and said, “Is that a bird’s nest almost at the top of that tree? Do you suppose it might have any eggs in it?”
Well, Mr. Lovesick didn’t know but he said, “I’ll climb up there and see if you want me to.”
Again with the dazzle she said, “Oh, would you?”
So he clambered up the tree, branches breaking under his weight, and hollered, “Yes. There’s three eggs in here.” About that time the mother magpie dive-bombed our intrepid nest invader and he came tumbling out of the tree.
Leela gave him a little hug and carried on about his bravery (which I found totally disgusting) and then suggested he go to the house and get a Band-Aid for his skinned knuckles.
After he left she noticed me standing there and laughingly asked, “What should I have him do next?” I couldn’t think of a thing.
Plus I never did get the hang of “dazzling.” Evidently, I couldn’t ride that turnip truck.
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org