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River Queen (Oh MY!! What a FINE little essay!!!)
The New York Times ^ | 9/24/06 | Michael Perry

Posted on 09/23/2006 8:42:28 PM PDT by paulat

River Queen By MICHAEL PERRY

Published: September 24, 2006

I was traveling to Black River Falls, Wis., in my reliable-if-not-zippy four-door ’78 Impala when the radiator blew. It could have been worse, since I was rolling off the exit ramp at the time and had sufficient momentum to reach the Wal-Mart parking lot. I was en route to research an article on canoeing and had agreed to meet a local guide at a downtown hardware store, so I left the car astride its expanding green puddle and walked the rest of the way.

The guide — a petite young woman named Mindy who kept her blond hair pulled into a ponytail with a pink scrunchie but carried herself with a trace of jock swagger — took one look at my soft hands and determined immediately and quite correctly that I wasn’t the kind of guy who could fix his own radiator. My mechanical abilities dwindle just past lifting the hood. Mindy arranged to have the Impala towed to a local shop. Then she loaded me into her pickup truck. The exterior was bashed and scuffed, and the cab was awash in good working-class trash — spark-plug boxes and empty gasket packs, shell casings, that sort of thing. We accelerated manfully from the curb. She handled the stick shift with authority, which gave me certain twinges. And I admit I noticed how her quadriceps arched against her shorts when she worked the clutch. She told me about her motorcycle.

[snip]

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS:
This is a perfect little story.
1 posted on 09/23/2006 8:42:28 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat

More:

When you grow up tramping around with a shotgun and a fishing pole, reading Louis L’Amour cowboy books while listening to tapes of Neil Diamond singing “And the Grass Won’t Pay No Mind,” you tend to nurture visions of yourself as a strong but sensitive roughneck, the end result being that you long for a woman like Mindy. Hardy, beautiful and able to skin things. For a country boy to see this woman at the wheel of a beat-up truck is to see her wearing his favorite flannel shirt in the morning. Add to this that I was in the midst of a dateless stretch bound to extend over some five years and that I had furthermore recently discovered poetry readings, and you will understand that my predilection for romantic pining was wound to the redline. I sneaked a sidelong peek, felt the truck rumbling along and wondered what it might be like to go for groceries together.


2 posted on 09/23/2006 8:44:32 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat; Kathy in Alaska; Diana in Wisconsin
Hardy, beautiful and able to skin things.

LOLOLOL!!!

3 posted on 09/23/2006 8:46:26 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat
Mindy dropped me at the shop with my Impala, and I have not seen her since. I recall her shoulders in the sun and the flex of her calf when she hit the gas.

I almost married her to!

4 posted on 09/23/2006 8:47:11 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: paulat

I have to agree with what she said about him. It sounds like something Woody Allen would write.


5 posted on 09/23/2006 8:47:54 PM PDT by Tarantulas ( Illegal immigration - the trojan horse that's treated like a sacred cow)
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To: operation clinton cleanup

More:

When we reached the landing, she jumped out and didn’t wait around for me to help lug the canoe. Once launched, we floated the river for a long while. Mindy paddled smoothly and pointed out key fishing spots. “I do a lot of bass fishing,” she said. All this, and a pickup truck, I kept thinking. When she drew my attention to a specific cluster of brush and identified it as the spot where she shot her biggest buck ever, I decided it was time to get married.

It’s tough to make a marriage proposal in a canoe. I’m not saying it can’t be done; it’s just that canoes are notoriously tippy. And because I’ve never mastered the J-stroke required to successfully captain a canoe without switching the paddle side to side every two strokes like an indecisive milkmaid assigned one dasher and two churns, I had been rightly placed in the position of emasculation: up front facing forward, where I could paddle away without yawing us madly into the tag alders.

What I had in mind was a sandbar. With a deft variation of her stroke, Mindy would put us ashore. Kneeling shoulder to shoulder on the beach, we would coax up a fire with moss and flint, then roast frog-legs-and-cattail-root shish kebabs over driftwood coals. Later, while loitering in a muskrat-pelt loin cloth and waiting for the tin-can coffee to boil, I would pop the question. The evening would culminate with a postprandial arm-wrestling match — loser wears the engagement ring. In the morning I would take her in my arms and bear her to the canoe. Or vice versa. We would emerge from the wilderness to notify our friends and reserve the Legion Hall.

The fantasy broke when a well-muscled and wholly corporeal local boy hailed Mindy from shore. There followed a good-natured exchange of insults that implied familiarity. He looked woodsy and capable. A real back-of-the-canoe fellow. Then, to me out of the corner of her mouth, Mindy said something along the lines of “That boy’s a weenie.”

I hope it is a sign of progress when a man subverts machismo to allow room for frank self-assessment. Realizing there was no way — beyond faking a seizure and flipping the canoe — to leave Mindy breathless, I resumed my brute-force paddling. Shortly we debarked. Mindy dropped me at the shop with my Impala, and I have not seen her since. I recall her shoulders in the sun and the flex of her calf when she hit the gas.


6 posted on 09/23/2006 8:49:58 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat

This guy is a wanna be.

To Quote Red Green

"If women don't find you handsome, at least they should find you handy."

This guy is neither.


7 posted on 09/23/2006 8:52:58 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar ("Being nice will get us killed")
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To: Tarantulas

This was the best Hemmingway-esqe writing I have seen in a long time! Bless him!


8 posted on 09/23/2006 8:53:38 PM PDT by paulat
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To: Jet Jaguar

I disagree...this man knows his limits...and knows beauty when he sees it.


9 posted on 09/23/2006 8:54:45 PM PDT by paulat
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To: Jet Jaguar
I love that quote, but in today's world, it's more like:

"If women don't find you handsome, at least they should find you handy. If neither, be rich enough to pay someone to fix things without complaint."

Me, I went for handsome and handy!

10 posted on 09/23/2006 9:02:45 PM PDT by TheWriterTX (Proud Retrosexual Wife of 13 Years)
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To: Jet Jaguar
"If women don't find you handsome, at least they should find you handy."

And a good supply of duct tape!

11 posted on 09/23/2006 9:03:23 PM PDT by operation clinton cleanup
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To: TheWriterTX

LOL!


12 posted on 09/23/2006 9:03:23 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar ("Being nice will get us killed")
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To: paulat
I wonder if they had lunch at the Flying J.

I love the chicken fried steak there. I never miss it when I'm passing through BRF.

L

13 posted on 09/23/2006 9:05:09 PM PDT by Lurker (islam is not a religion. It's the new face of Fascism in our time. We ignore it at our peril.)
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To: Xenalyte

You might appreciate the writing style....


14 posted on 09/23/2006 9:05:37 PM PDT by paulat
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To: TheWriterTX
I'm afraid I'm in the position of 'none of the above'. I can change oil in my car, but that's about it. Handsome...I'm not even going there. And the only thing I can really fix is a computer, but who cares about that?

I'm also abysmally poor, but perhaps I can do something about that eventually.
15 posted on 09/23/2006 9:09:36 PM PDT by JamesP81 (The answer always lies with more freedom; not less)
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To: TheWriterTX
Me, I went for handsome and handy!

Heh, me too!! 31 years coming up in three weeks!

16 posted on 09/23/2006 9:13:26 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: JamesP81
the only thing I can really fix is a computer, but who cares about that?

...most folks of FR, dear...(we're on computers...get it?)

Post and interact with the good folks here. We've had some "success stories," not that human interaction is all that bad...but some folks have married.

17 posted on 09/23/2006 9:16:02 PM PDT by paulat
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To: TheWriterTX

Me too. Been gazing into those blue eyes since 1972.


18 posted on 09/23/2006 9:16:23 PM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch (good fences make good neighbors!)
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To: paulat
My daughter has begun (shudder!) dating. A couple of nights ago I overheard her end of a phone-call with her latest beau.

(after telling the boy that her brother was out hunting with his friends she twitters with dismay) "Oh, no! I'm not all that into hunting. I *do* have a problem with killing things. (flirty sigh) I just like to do the girly things. You know; gutting, skinning, dressing... Hey! Have you ever heard of 'brain tanning'?" (then, with a cold, sharp edge to her voice) "What do you mean, you don't like to touch meat?" After she hung up, she snorted then muttered, "Weirdo."

One thing I really love about her is that, despite my best efforts, she really is a lady. She can work up a sweat shoveling manure and lunging her horse for an afternoon, then shower and doll up in 30 minutes for a run into town. Once she cleans up you'd never know that this was the same girl sawing the head off a bunny only a few hours ago.

19 posted on 09/23/2006 9:17:39 PM PDT by Marie (Welcome to Texas! (Be friendly or we'll shoot you.))
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To: Marie
Your daughter sounds wonderful!!!

You did a good job, Marie!!!

20 posted on 09/23/2006 9:19:37 PM PDT by paulat
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To: paulat

Ha!
He was going to propose marriage to her, and he doesn't even know the 'J'-stroke?
Shoot, that's taught in the Boy Scout Handbook!
(Or was it "Boys' Life" Magazine?)

She'd have laughed him into next week!
"How would ever teach our sons to hunt?"
(And you know she'll have sons...)


21 posted on 09/23/2006 9:24:38 PM PDT by Redbob
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To: Redbob
She'd have laughed him into next week!

He knows it. The beauty of this piece is the way it's written...I don't see much "good writing" these days. It's refreshing when it happens.

22 posted on 09/23/2006 9:27:40 PM PDT by paulat
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To: Redbob

This guy likes to look at her legs in shorts, but can he use his left foot to get a truck moving?


23 posted on 09/23/2006 9:37:40 PM PDT by 1stMarylandRegiment (Conserve Liberty)
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To: paulat
You did a good job, Marie!!!

Thank you, but we're not out of the woods yet! (teenagers!!) lol!

24 posted on 09/23/2006 9:38:34 PM PDT by Marie (Welcome to Texas! (Be friendly or we'll shoot you.))
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To: Marie
Now that's just funny! Thanks.
25 posted on 09/23/2006 9:38:37 PM PDT by Brucifer (JF'n Kerry- "That's not just a paper cut, it's a Purple Heart!")
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To: paulat; ConservativeLawyer; commonerX; proud_yank; kanawa
Paddler's PING!


26 posted on 09/23/2006 9:41:34 PM PDT by SquirrelKing
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To: paulat
This essay is adapted from “Truck: A Love Story”

A man who can love a truck can't be all bad, even if he does write things for the New York Times. But I hope at some point he learns how to fix his own radiator. Real men can fix cars. Mr. Fairview can fix a transmission with a paper clip.

27 posted on 09/23/2006 10:01:18 PM PDT by Fairview
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To: Marie

<< Have you ever heard of 'brain tanning'?" >>

What a great question to hear! I'm afraid I'm more like the River Queen author, but my grandfather wrote a book about it. River Queen would've like him. His picture is on the braintan website.

http://www.braintan.com/gallery/hunting/hunting.html


28 posted on 09/23/2006 10:01:55 PM PDT by cantweall
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To: cantweall
Wonderful website! I love the concept of brain-tanning. Most everything you need comes with the animal.

We're getting a collection of salted furs. Within the next year or so I'm going to be forced to learn how to tan or send them to my cousin. (Now *she's* a corker! 5'1", a buck-O-5, a college-educated genius at math, with a soft Texas drawl, and her idea of a wonderful evening is to sit on the porch picking off squirrels then skinning them by fire-light.)

29 posted on 09/23/2006 10:40:57 PM PDT by Marie (Welcome to Texas! (Be friendly or we'll shoot you.))
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To: Marie

I really have to get the hell out of NY. (grin)


30 posted on 09/23/2006 10:59:43 PM PDT by headstamp (Nothing lasts forever, Unless it does.)
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To: paulat

sums up the liberal picture of life perfectly... where the women are more manly then the men.


31 posted on 09/24/2006 12:52:38 AM PDT by sten
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To: Fairview
Real men can fix cars.

Built the engine in my first car with my Dad when I was 16, a 73 pinto station wagon (yellow... babe repellent). Replaced the engine & exhaust in my 75 camaro. definite improvement... fast, throaty, but a gas guzzler (you could watch the gas guage drop when i floored it). I was able (and did) repair it a few times roadside with just duct tape and mechanics wire. Gave up on noodling under the hood when I got my 89 probe. Fuel injection and turbo'd... fast, and fun. I was just a bit afraid of blowing up my first new car. By the time I got my 95 talon, working on the car wasn't possible with the 80-100 hr/weeks. AWD, turbo'd and fuel injected. Nope, wasn't risking it.

today, i'm not about to invalidate the warranty on the bmw. My first foreign car, and I love it, like all the rest. I think my Dad would forgive me for not buying American on this one. My manly quotian may be dropping a bit, but I can live with it.

My Dad.. he could fix anything with a motor. Whether it was usaf jets, off shore race boats or the nitro madness of the quarter mile... no problem. The man was a genius.

32 posted on 09/24/2006 1:12:36 AM PDT by sten
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To: Fairview

Don't matter what you can fix, how you look, what yer rap is...GET A GUITAR! (that's wut there fer, anyway.)


33 posted on 09/24/2006 2:25:58 AM PDT by dasboot
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To: Fairview
"But I hope at some point he learns how to fix his own radiator. Real men can fix cars. Mr. Fairview can fix a transmission with a paper clip."

Well, I "can" fix cars, but thankfully have reached the point where I can afford not to. Spent too much time on the farm fixing cars, trucks, tractors, chainsaws, and pretty much anything else with a motor to really enjoy it.

34 posted on 09/24/2006 4:08:35 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog (The Hog of Steel-NRA)
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To: Lurker
"I wonder if they had lunch at the Flying J."

I don't believe the Flying J was even there in 1978.

My visits go back to 1966, when I94 wasn't even there. I94 went from St. Paul to Chicago, but the last section to be finished was between Eau Claire and Tomah. You had to take Highway 12, which passed through the city of BRF. I used to stop there for a (3.2) beer and a Green Bay Packer Burger. I was too young to buy a real beer.

35 posted on 09/24/2006 5:54:46 AM PDT by norwaypinesavage
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To: Marie

"One thing I really love about her is that, despite my best efforts, she really is a lady. She can work up a sweat shoveling manure and lunging her horse for an afternoon, then shower and doll up in 30 minutes for a run into town. Once she cleans up you'd never know that this was the same girl sawing the head off a bunny only a few hours ago."

Sounds like a wonderful young woman. I always advise young women who are interested in matrimony to join a gun club. They usually end up married within two years.

Consider it: Surounded by well to do intellegent men ( the kind you find at a gun club), with little competition and obvious common interests.


36 posted on 09/24/2006 6:20:47 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: paulat

This is the America that I remember when I was growing up only a generation ago. Most of the girls that I dated in my little country town could shoot a rifle off of the back of a moving horse with decent accuracy. They could could look at a tree and be able to tell whether a bear or a buck had been there. They could find the deep pools in the creek where the really big trout hung out, tell the difference between a rainbow and a German brown when they caught one, and know whether or not it was a "keeper" without a measuring tape. They only difference is, back then it wasn't noteworthy that a girl could do those things.

As long as there are girls like Mindy around, and men who can appreciate them, the future of our country is secure (despite what you may hear on the news).


37 posted on 09/24/2006 6:53:18 AM PDT by Doohickey (I am not unappeasable. YOU are just too easily appeased.)
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To: Marie

My daughter is the same way. Eighteen, NRA member, rabid right-winger, good student, now in college where she enjoys verbally busting up the liberals. When a horse displeases her she can pick him up and throw him across his stall. (OK, I might be exaggerating slightly there.) She can drive a tractor or dig a post-hole. Loves guns and trucks and the kind of men who know how to handle them. And she's knock-out gorgeous, especially in a long dress. She is not going to marry a wuss from New York.


38 posted on 09/24/2006 7:33:25 AM PDT by Fairview
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To: paulat

Thanks for the ping. I loved it. :)

My husband said he married me because he knew I'd be just the right amount of "competition" for him. He said what sealed the deal was his playing pool with me when we we were dating. While I rarely beat him, I was always behind him by only one shot and never got all "girly and pouty" about losing. And I can hold my liquor and I'm not the least bit sqeamish, LOL!

Yep. I let him chase me until I caught him. *SMIRK*


39 posted on 09/24/2006 10:17:47 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: SJackson; girlangler

Worthy of a Midwest Ping List Ping? :)


40 posted on 09/24/2006 10:18:15 AM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save The Earth. It's The Only Planet With Chocolate.)
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To: sten

"when I got my 89 probe"



That sounds painfull!


41 posted on 09/24/2006 10:27:41 AM PDT by gc4nra ( this tag line protected by Kimber and the First Amendment (I voted for McClintock))
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To: gc4nra
That sounds painfull!

Must have been, they made lots of mustang owners howl...

42 posted on 09/24/2006 11:04:22 AM PDT by sten
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To: Fairview
I don't know what it is about farm-raised conservative girls being so attractive. Maybe it's all the fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Maybe it's because, even with all the hunting, fishing, shooting, and animal wrangling they're still feminine females who believe that men should be men and they should be wives and mothers (and they're gutsy enough to enforce those beliefs).

Heck, maybe it's just the diary! lol! Lord knows, the lifestyle isn't conducive to the skinny, anorexic pseudo-boy look.

43 posted on 09/24/2006 11:25:35 AM PDT by Marie (Welcome to Texas! (Be friendly or we'll shoot you.))
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To: Marie

LOLOL. Gotta love it...well done, you.


44 posted on 09/24/2006 11:35:59 AM PDT by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: Iowa Granny; Ladysmith; Diana in Wisconsin; JLO; sergeantdave; damncat; phantomworker; joesnuffy; ..

If you'd like to be on or off this Upper Midwest (WI, IA, MN, MI, and anyone else) list, largely rural issues, please FR mail me. And ping me is you see articles of interest.


45 posted on 09/25/2006 6:57:34 AM PDT by SJackson (The PilgrimsóDoing the jobs Native Americans wouldn't do!)
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To: Fairview
Real men can fix cars

smart men keep up maintainance so they don't have to, and spend their time "improving."
46 posted on 09/25/2006 7:28:10 AM PDT by absolootezer0 ("My God, why have you forsaken us.. no wait, its the liberals that have forsaken you... my bad")
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To: Marie
Reminds me of a wonderful story I read on USENET (rec.hunting), years ago ...

"How the Debutante Cooked the Jackrabbit" Part One and Part Two.

Is there any kind of hunting ping list on this forum?

47 posted on 09/25/2006 7:30:55 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Marie
"Wonderful website! I love the concept of brain-tanning. Most everything you need comes with the animal"

Every animal has...brains enough to tan their own hide.
48 posted on 09/25/2006 8:04:42 AM PDT by Beagle8U (Ronald Reagan didn't turn me into a Republican....Jimmy Carter did that!!)
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To: Marie; proud_yank

Yank,

Marie's daughter sounds like your dream woman. Congrats Marie on raising that kind of gal.


49 posted on 09/25/2006 8:54:21 AM PDT by girlangler (Fish Fear Me)
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