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They will know us by the mud on our cars

Al came home the other day and said, “I saw a dirty white car in town and thought how bad it looked. I thought it was you, until I realized I was driving your car.”

It’s bad when you recognize your vehicle by the mud.

This time of year, you can tell who lives in town, who is passing through, and who lives in the country — by the mud on their cars.

We are thankful just to get out of our driveway. Every year we say, “We need to get rock on that road, but we need to wait for summer.” Come summer, it doesn’t seem necessary, and it doesn’t happen.

Our kids pass every morning at 7:35 coming off the Blanco and I look up from the table and say, “It’s the kids, I recognize them by the dirt on their car. I am just thankful they have jobs to go to and they take some of the Blanco mud with them.”

I am sure the city folk are wondering why we don’t wash our cars.

It wouldn’t do any good until after mud season. We have done this and, the next day, they are dirty again.

This is what happens: Al has the car running. I start to get in and he says to me, “Hold up your coat, you’re getting mud on it or step up on the running board and swing your legs in, or climb in on my side and climb over the transmission.”

The other day he said, “Put your head in, put your knee on the seat and crawl in, you’re getting mud on everything.”

Once in the car, he guns it and I hold on.

I said to him, “Al, we are getting too old for all this nonsense.”

My daughter says her favorite commercial is the one where they have a tough truck go through less of an obstacle mud course than our driveway, and it says, “If your car can’t do this, you need to move.” She just laughs and laughs.

A few weeks ago, Al had been working with a bunch of men and he was wearing plastic grocery sacks on his shoes.

I pointed to the sacks and said, “What are those?”

“Oh, the man I was riding with asked me to put these plastic bags on my shoes before I got into his car.”

I told Al, “You never wore plastic sacks on your shoes for me. You just bring in the mud.”

Apparently, I haven’t trained Sweet Al right. This guy lives on a paved road and has a nice clean car, inside and out.

It would be nice.

So, how do we handle the mud?

We don’t.

When we go to Albuquerque, we hit the first carwash, and the mud falls off in large chunks. People look at us, and wonder what Al and I have been up to.

Now, does it look like we have been up to anything? It looks like we have been in a swamp buggy down in Louisiana, or racing down mountain mud trails or doing Baja jumps in the mud. I tell them we were having an adventure of a lifetime.

I don’t tell them we are just trying to get out of our driveway.

When I leave the front door, I am mud free. Before I shut the door on the car, I have caked-on mud on the back of my pants, on my coat and my purse.

“Mud Season” is the least favorite time of the year. It’s the only time I wonder why we live in Pagosa. But, as soon as the mud clears up, I know why we live here: It’s the most beautiful place in the world. We give each other permission to drive dirty cars. We all know it is OK until after mud season.

I’m wondering if Wal-Mart is going to have a carwash?

Final brushstroke: What’s a little mud when you are having the adventure of a lifetime living in Pagosa?

Artist’s quote

“Remember… every flower that ever bloomed had to go through a lot of dirt to get there.” — John Kent.

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