by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- If you’ve ever been around a guy who nods a lot while you’re talking, you may have wondered to yourself, “Why does he do that?” Well, have some sympathy. This is a person who lives along a dirt road and has seen his share of washboard. Take a look at his truck. Muddy. Dusty. Cracked windshield. Dirt roads are the primary cause of shaken adult syndrome. It does not cause quite as much brain damage as a career in the boxing ring, but it’s close. At first, the dirt roads in Huerfano County seem quaint. But after your fourth flat tire, you realize this is something to be barely tolerated. It’s not nearly as fun as it looked on the Dukes of Hazzard.
After we first moved to the La Veta area, we puzzled over the dirt roads in town. Don’t the dust and mud and ruts bother the residents? We mentioned it to some friends who quickly slapped their hands over our mouths. “Don’t even say that out loud,” one warned, glancing furtively around. Evidently, there is still a stockpile of tar and feathers in the Town maintenance building. We learned that the residents of La Veta LIKE their dirt roads and they DO NOT want them to be paved. I think this was the finding of one survey by the Town finance department after they surveyed the budget. Regardless, if you’ve just moved to the area, don’t hold your breath for the streets to be paved. Oak Street is a gross exception and was only paved because the Town is about to do a water project and they needed practice digging up and repairing asphalt.
There are also unpaved streets in Walsenburg and Gardner, although you have to be lost to find them in Walsenburg, and you have to be really lost to even find Gardner. (It’s okay, they like it that way.) These dirt streets do not appear to be graded on a regular basis, but that is only an illusion. Each time they are graded, it rains, thus spoiling the artistic job the graders do.
And speaking of art, there is an opportunity for your own individual brand of art when you live along a dirt road. The churned up dust manages to find its way into even the most airtight homes, if there were any. The dust settles on every horizontal surface, resulting in an ethereal frosting upon what would otherwise be boringly clean furniture. Voila! Art. The challenge is this: you, your children and your spouse cannot touch the dusty frosting anywhere in your home. If you do, someone might as well scrawl “WASH ME” on everything you own. Dusting, as you may have already discovered, is a thankless job. Dust your furniture today, and more dust settles tomorrow. The best solution is to use a dirty sock (works just as good as Pledge) and wipe down all of your furniture thirty minutes before company arrives. They’ll think you spent hours slaving over the dust, and it only costs you one dirty sock.