Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Open Letter

Dear blonde driving the black GMC SUV that was tailgating my old Dodge truck for two-tenths of a mile on Kemp Ford Road about 9:30 this morning:

I'm so sorry I inconvenienced you by going slow. When I looked in my rearview mirror, I could tell you were impatient by the way you were swerving back and forth as you rode my bumper. Were you so close that you didn't see the truck's flashers going? Were you so close that you didn't see the slow-moving tractor in front of my truck?

Did you think that swerving behind me would make me go faster? It didn't—I had to go slow to protect my husband on his tractor in front of me. Having someone ram the back of my truck is preferable to having someone ram the back of the tractor. An old Ferguson isn't built for speed. When it's pulling a hay rake, it has to go even slower. Sorry about that. We probably caused you a great deal of inconvenience in the less than five minutes you were behind me.

I saw you try to pull out several times to pass, even though the road has a double solid yellow line. There's a reason for that line: the hills and the curves. With the high grass along the right-of-way, it's even harder to see what is coming. Each time you tried to pass, you had to get back behind me because of an on-coming car or truck. Traffic can be heavy near the lake on a Memorial Day Weekend.

My husband decided to move his tractor this morning before the church traffic picked up. If he'd waited until later, he'd have inconvenienced more people and had a greater risk of being hit. I need to be behind him because our Union Hall farm is on a road to the lake—a road where people often speed.

We had no problems for the two-tenths of a mile we were on Route 40. Two pick-up trucks were behind us. I think they were locals. They weren't in any hurry to pass and they didn't tailgate. They must have known that a tractor wouldn't be on the road for long. Going slow for the short stretch we have to be on Route 40 is usually the scarey part of tractor-moving. Today, however, was fine. But not long after we turned off Route 40, there you were.

I'm sure you thought we should have pulled aside and let you pass. But there was no place to pull aside. There isn't a shoulder on this curvy narrow road. Plus the hayrake sticks out some. That's why it has the orange triangular "slow moving vehicle'" sign attached. That's why my husband was wearing an orange shirt: visibility.

I was going to note your license number, but your big SUV didn't have a front license plate. As soon as my husband and I turned off Kemp Ford and you sped away, you were going so fast I didn't see your rear license plate. All I saw was the SML sticker on your rear window. You ain't from around here, are you?

Later today, you'll probably have a Memorial Day Weekend cook-out, and most likely you'll throw a few steaks on the grill. As you chow down on your T-bone, you might think about the steer that steak came from—and about how somebody had to provide hay to feed that steer through the winter so it could end up on your plate.

Maybe the somebody who made the hay that fed the steer that provided the steak that you ate while you sat on your deck and looked at the lake and complained about being inconvenienced by the locals was the one who moved his old tractor and hayrake to his hayfield this morning.

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