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), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Grass is Always Greener

I’ve been complaining about how dry my property is. Actually, part of the lawn is lush:

The back yard this morning. Note the cloudy sky. Yippee!

Do you know why part of it is greener than the rest? Here’s a hint: Remember when Irma Bombeck said that the grass is always greener over the septic tank? Well, she wasn’t quite right. The grass is really greener over the septic tank’s drainfield.

If you live in rural America, you most likely have a septic tank (unless you have an outhouse). Eventually, it’ll need cleaning. We had ours cleaned about five years ago, but the septic cleaner guy said it could have gone another decade. Better safe than sorry, though. I’ve heard horror stories from people who woke up one morning to discover brown ooze seeping up through their grass. Soon they found that oil hadn’t been discovered on their property.

You’d think cleaning the tank would be one of the more odious—or is that odiferous?—jobs a person could have. In reality, it isn’t bad at all: open the cover, drop in a hose, suck up the crud, collect a check. Granted, I don’t know what happens after the truck leaves, but that’s another story.

Looking into our tank was fascinating. A lot of itsy bitsy insects live down there. A good thing, the guy said. The bugs are supposed to indicate a healthy septic tank. What the bugs do, I have no clue. How they reproduce is even more of a mystery. Do they grope around blindly until they get lucky?

The inside of the septic tank—at least what I could see of it—looked exactly the way I’d always pictured the underworld. Well, I never pictured the underworld with millions of little bugs, but if you ever studied mythology, you know what I mean. The liquid in the bottom looked like the River Styx. Where was Cerberus? Was Orpheus on his way out? Was Eurydice behind him, or had she looked back already? Was Persephone lurking around the corner?

Anyone who ever majored in English should find a septic tank’s interior a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

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Blogger CountryDew said...

My brother asked me just yesterday wondered if he could plant grapes or something over his drainfield to take advantage of the steady supply of water ...

11:56 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Becky, you are hilarious! I can see you peering down into your tank, just to see what's down there. You CRACK me up. I met Jeanne Larsen yesterday, and Dr. Tretheway too!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

It looks like it's a lot drier out your way than it is here. So far!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Hi Becky, I saw your name at the library today, with the mention of the homeschool writing help. My 12 year old daughter is a very talented creative writer, and perhaps we'll drop in on one of the days that you're there.

I came home and googled your name, then coming across your blog. We have JUST moved here from Colorado Springs (2 weeks ago!). I love your photographs. I'm adjusting to not having clear shots of mountain views (Pikes Peak was hard to miss), and I'm not yet brave enough to just STOP on the road, get out and start snapping photos for my own blog!

Thank you for the comments about the Omaha Beach book too; I've requested it from the library for my husband. It looks like my new library is a true gem, and this is a good thing, because they will definitely know me very quickly!

5:11 PM  

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