Hot In The Wind

She glanced at the clock above the Top Chef, stainless steel range; that was how she wanted to describe it to you but in reality it was just a second rate smooth surface range that they had inherited with the purchase of the house. She could see why the previous owners had left the range behind. Not that she had to cook on it very often because her husband always had dinner on the table when she got home from work but when she did the range was second rate at best. Someday, probably sooner than they could afford, they’d upgrade the stove.

At this moment, it was already after five. Her husband, Ted, was out of town for a guys weekend. It was her responsibility to prepare that night’s dinner. The clock suggested she had plenty of time to inspect the garden for fresh veggies to be incorporated into the impromptu meal.

Sophie headed out the garage door picking up a light plastic trowel along the way. Although the temperature was well in the 90s, she hadn’t taken the time to change into more heat appropriate clothing. She wore heavy grey cotton slacks and a button down green camp shirt. The only thing that seemed to fit the hot weather was her bare feet. Of course, her feet would be bare. Other than walking into a store or walking into the office, she went barefoot for everything else.

She rounded the corner of the brick garage as she walked out to the side yard where she kept her attempts at a green thumb. This year, they installed a crude fence of chicken wire to keep the rabbits away from the peas. The fence worked well enough at keeping the varmints out but more than once she’d found herself struggling to stay upright when climbing over it to get into the garden.

Her glance around the garden detected a great number of over-grown weeds requiring eviction. Too bad that task would have to wait until another time for right then it was gather-for-dinner time. She noted that the zucchini, tomatoes, and lettuce had been picked a few days earlier leaving her just fresh carrots to pick. These were her least favorite to pick because you actually needed to dig them out. Since it hadn’t rained in weeks the ground would be extra hard.

Without wasting much time, Sophie plunged the trowel into the hardened dirt next to the carrots. Several scoops later, she appeared to be no closer to removing the carrot from the ground then when she started. After several more attempts, she finally felt the root give way. Sophie stood up straight to examine it. She had hoped the breeze would keep her cool while digging out the carrots, but she was astonished to find the wind was actually hotter than the stagnant air. Her inspection determined that the carrot was four inches long with a pale orange color. It would be good enough for dinner.

She tossed the carrot to the side of the garden proceeding to dig out the next root. Although it had been growing right next to the one she had just dug out, this one required just as much work. When at last it gave it’s release, Sophie stood again to examine it. The hot wind swirled around her making her wonder if these were the types of winds Scarlet had beard in Gone With The Wind. Sophie wiped the back of her hand across her forehead to wipe away beads of sweat that hot wind had caused instead of alleviated. The dirt on her hands went unheeded leaving a dark smudges behind. Sophie refocused her attention on the aforementioned carrot. It exacerbated her to realized she had toiled in the repressive hot wind for a tiny, scrawny carrot.

With another sudden gust of hot wind, Sophie stretched her arms to the heavens and arched her back. Then she fell to her knees in her shouldn’t-be-digging-up-carrots pants. In an anguished voice she cried, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” and collapsed onto the ground.

She gleefully smiled as she pushed herself back up to stand on her bare feet. She grabbed the trowel letting the hot wind blow her hair all over the place and resumed digging for more carrots while a mischievous grin played about her lips.

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