Tuesday, January 4, 2011

An excerpt from a conversation at the dinner table some years back:

Me: “all right everyone, from now on were going to be Agrarians. Each one of you gets one candle, so that if you want the light of more than one you’re going to have commune with each other.”

My wife, Jule, likes the idea, she’s been into candle light since Christmas tide because we used candles on the tree for the first time instead of electric lights.

But I loose Lucy, the oldest, she just rolls her eyes, it’s another one of dad’s wild ideas.

Me: “I’m going to flip the main breaker so there won’t be any electricity coming into the house”

I loose Crispin, the second oldest, at this point, “oh, I thought I was going to use the computer by candle light”

Me “And I’m turning off the gas, there won’t be any heat either except from the fireplace”

My wife, Jule: “that’s nice dear, but I think it would be better if we started being Agrarians in May, it’s warmer then”

she pauses thinks a bit and adds, “And besides, Scholastica and Mary are sick, and while Agrarians may not mind high rates of child mortality, I’d kind of like to hang on to my own children”

More pause and addition by Jule, “I don’t think being agrarian farmers is going back far enough, I think we should live in a Yurt” (she’s been researching Yurts lately and wants to live in two wool ones joined together in the middle of nowhere in the mountains . Yikes), "and become hunter gatherers, don’t you think?”

I don’t answer the last question for fear she’s as serious about hunter gathering as she is about living in a Yurt. I don’t want to know. . But Lucy, who’s heard all about Yurts, isn’t taking the hunter gathering sitting down, the Yurt idea is bad enough now she starts imagining herself through the Laura Ingles Wilder books of having to walk trap lines.

My wife ignores Lucy’s complaints and adds. “You know, since the height of civilization was the 12 century, I think we should live like they did.” “Not alone you know, but as an entire city”.

Me: But dear, Agrarians live in farming communities, not in cities”

Jule: “Fine, but they’re nitwits, they don’t have the opera and plays in farm towns.” ( I’m tempted to explain to her that neither do they exist where people live in Yurts in the middle of nowhere in the mountains, but don’t, the less said about Yurts the better. But I do add that only the wealthy enjoyed the plays and operas, most of the poor saps got stuck stomping around in dog feces tanning leather and other such delightful tasks.)

My wife adds: “and farm life a hundred years ago was pretty miserable also. Beside, I didn’t say I wanted to be peasant in the 12 century, like you want to us to live like Agrarian"

Lucy: “Do Agrarians take showers?” “Yurts don’t have showers do they?” “May I please be excused, I’d like to take one”

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