Thursday, March 02, 2006

Even those of us who start our days walking through barnyards in rubber boots sometimes daydream about living the high life. I've been thinking about this lately, partly because I have been taking stock with the approach of Lent, but mostly because I have been watching a DVD collection of the William Powell and Myrna Loy "Thin Man" films from the thirties and forties. Now that was style. Even the low-lives in those movies wore better suits than I do. And I am sure that William Powell never had to worry about what might be on his shoes after a walk across the yard. I watch with a little bit of envy, but have to admit that, while it would be fun for a while, black tie for dinner would get awfully confining as a regular event. And, as far as I have been able to observe, livestock are not terribly impressed by formal wear.

Nonetheless, we have our daydreams. My mother-in-law, who trained as a classical pianist before becoming a teacher, has been redecorating her home on the other side of the farm now that she and my father-in-law are retired. For the first time in her married life she can have light colored carpets without fear of what he might track in from the barn. She is trying to bring a little elegance back into the household, but it is, I fear, an uphill battle. Not through any fault of her own but because the realities of rural life keep intruding. Lately, when I drive over after dark, I see along with the peacocks and farm cats, one or more opossums trundling across the driveway heading for the small gap under her kitchen porch. She has made great progress with the house, but I'm afraid that having porch possums may be a sign that we are still not quite ready for high society.