FOOD & FUEL
While driving to do a story in the Mississippi Delta decades ago, I asked an accompanying photographer what he thought of the empty, drooping tenant houses we were passing every quarter of mile or so.
“In good light,” he offered, “they’d make fine black-and-white pictures.”
Suppose so, I replied; but what do you think about the farm policy shifts that sent many of these families to Memphis, Chicago and Detroit?
“Oh,” he said after a long squint at another fast-fading farmstead, “I’ll have to noodle on that and get back to you.”
No sooner than he had said “noodle on that,” I began to noodle on noodlin’ and, without turning the brain wattage too high, decided one day I’d do a noodle or two.
Well, that day has arrived: I am on vacation and I am noodlin’ right now.
I mean right now.
First off, I’ve never taken a vacation in September-farmers like my father never did, therefore farm boys like me never did – so I reckon I need to noodle on what to do on a September vacation. The lovely Catherine cannot assist this noodle since her father was an International Harvester dealer for 52 years and he never vacated in September, either.
Don’t worry, though, by now it’s likely I’ve noodled that part out and, probably, I’ll get back to you on it.
Another pending noodle is all the billionaires now running for public office.
I mean one guy in Florida spent $25 million of his own loot in a losing primary bid for governor. A lady in Connecticut spent $22 million of her own cash to win the GOP Senate primary and, if necessary, promises to spend $30 million more in the general election.
Is government the new playground of the uber-rich? Should such spenders handle public money? Is someone who can afford to buy an office someone we want in office?
I don’t know the answers but I’m noodlin’ ’em out right now and I’ll get back to you with an idea or two in a week or two.
In between naps this week I plan to noodle on why North American Guinness now tastes like South American dishwater. Has the recipe changed? Did my palette change? What am I gonna do if the black elixir never again is the black elixir?
This noodle will require hours of diligent research before an intelligent answer comes into focus. Then again, focus and Guinness are two words not normally found in the same sentence. I’ll noodle on it, though, and get back to you – if I remember.
There is one noodle I could use your help on. It involves my trusty, rusty 1995 Ford Explorer that a friend (no longer close) calls the Exploder.
The old buggy is two oil changes shy of 300,000 miles and like most high-mileage models – me, maybe you – it needs some minor surgery. OK, it needs a front-end transplant, basically everything that connects the front tires to the chassis.
Again, the lovely Catherine is no help. Her cure involves a crusher because she says spending “one dime” on something that “old” is “nuts.” (I’m older, not nuts and since I can still chew gum and noodle at the same time, I did not comment on her comment.)
The best noodle I’ve come up with so far is to do the operation myself with, maybe, $500 of junkyard parts, maybe $150 for a doctor’s visit and tetanus shot, and – ah, duh – another $200 for a mid-quality impact wrench and sockets.
Wouldya noodle on that plan and get back to me? It’d sure take a load, and a noodle, off my mind.
Guebert is a syndicated columnist from Delavan, Ill. Reach him by e-mail at email@example.com.
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