The Prairie Spy

Alan “Lindy” Linda

As if it isn’t bad enough that this winter of 21-22 has come at us time and again with a kick-butt-and-take-no-hostages attitude, it now seems determined to last forever. Driveways all over are shrieking their outrage. Sidewalks scream obscenities, demand better shovels more often. Vehicles drink more and demand less salt in their private parts as they slip and slide and plow their way down the streets and highways of Minnesota.

I guess it should come as no surprise then that Dexter the Driveway woke me up this morning and demanded of me to clear the snow off “herself” again. 

“What do you mean, ‘herself’?” Last I knew, I asked DD, you were a him.

“No no no,” said, well, the Driveway Last Known as Dexter, who took that name from a psychopath on a tv series, believing that best reflected his abilities. (Those abilities? Yes, they involved sucking smart aleck four-wheel-drive vehicles into his ditches. And yes, several times over the years, me too.)

“So now what is your name?” I asked.

“My new name is Brunnhilde,” he-she said. “You pronounce the ‘de’ as ‘da,’” she said, “like a good Viking should.”

Well, I know enough Viking history to know that Brunnhilde was a Valkyrie, tasked with carrying dead warriors off to the heroes’ paradise of Valhalla. Vikings weren’t all that nice, so this gender change on Dexter’s part could well signal his-her decision to become even more ruthless.

As if she hasn’t been that already. Just last week, I put the sawhorse up at the top of my long driveway to keep people out of my yard, which clay, due to sunshine melt,  has turned out to be well-qualified to become a prospective place to have the next truck “mudder” event. 

Because now there’s no easy place to turn around, it has thus become difficult to get our or any vehicles turned around. So, as we came home from town the other day, I suggested to Rainbowe that she should let me drive, and I could thus use my superior farm-honed skills to turn around down at the highway and back all the way up the Driveway formerly known as Dexter.

I hadn’t really even gotten a little way when Brunnhilde grabbed me by the tires and pulled me slickly into her ditch. Rainbow and I sat there, the car tipped at an unusual angle, stunned by the quickness of this unexpected ditching. Well. I swallowed my male pride, got out my phone, and called Triple A. The lady who answered asked: “Are you safe?”

I could have said–physically, perhaps, but my male pride has taken a fierce beating, you know?

It’s much clearer to me now. Brunnhilde’s gender change signals a much meaner, more vindictive approach to letting vehicles pass unmolested. “All ships are fair booty,” Brunnhilde stated during this morning call, apparently referring to another one of her Viking traditions, sacking them as well as villages.

“Well,” I replied, “those aren’t ships, they’re cars and trucks.”

“They’re MINE, ALL MINE!” she screamed.

Apparently they are, I thought to myself. Last month the lady who looks after the place when we’re gone was taken up the driveway in her husband’s four-wheel-drive pickup, which would be more likely to make it up.

Uh,uh. Didn’t make it halfway up. They called a friend with a plow truck, who didn’t make it even that far. The Driveway Now Known as Brunnhilde sucked it in.

A friend driving by had to pull both of them out.

“Well, Brunnhilde,” I sighed, wanting to go back to sleep, “I’ll plow you out again.”

“You’d better,” she said. “Just because you’re got a little Viking blood in you doesn’t exempt you from paying me tribute in the form of grooming.” I guess she means when I drag the field harrow up and down her.Then she added, in a rather coy voice: “If you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” There was nothing for a second, then she said: “Maybe.” 

Oh Dexter, I’m gonna miss you.

Just when I thought winter could do no worse.