My new favorite place is the Wilco Feed Store in McMinnville. Besides being ENORMOUS and full of tools I need, the people there make me silly happy. Lately, I’ve been dropping in there a lot. I pull up in my big pick up, park sideways across two spaces (no power steering) and wander in to buy the one part or piece that will help me finish my project.
This weekend I came in wearing my dirty jeans half soaked from the leaky spigot project (turns out that replacing a shut off valve on a pipe while the water is running… not the best idea). The old woman flower-waterer gave me the MOST disapproving look when I walked past her. I actually laughed a little on my way by. All the while I walked to the back of the store for the 1/2 inch – not 3/4 inch – fitting, and all the way back to the register I watched the other shoppers, who were all trying not to look at me.
What I love about the feed store clients is we all have a common look to us. We all come in there between noon and four – when its too hot to do anymore fieldwork – with our clothes and faces covered with dust. Usually you can see streaks on the face where sweat has been wiped off, and hand prints on the jeans where the sweaty hands were dried. One guys I saw had so much dust in his hair it stood straight up and looked like a powdered wig. My favorite guy wore his hat in the field, but took it off to come inside. He had a pronounced dirt line halfway up his forehead and spotlessly clean glasses.
I am approximately 40 years younger than these guys and a woman, but those are pretty much the only differences between me and the other customers. The expression on all our faces is a cross between exhaustion, pain and sleeplessness. We nod in a neighborly fashion as we pass in the aisles. Periodically we engage each other idle conversation or exchange ideas for irrigation or tool selection. When I tell them how my pants got wet they laugh a little and shake their heads. Like zombies we stand in line and sound like dumb hicks at the check stand asking about the price of chicken feed and t-posts. My people.