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Sunday, April 11, 2010

“In the Spring a Young Man’s Fancy…

Spring Clouds

These nights the frogs in the pond across road are in fine voice, chorusing their good vibrations. It is a nocturne that heralds spring. I am early into my walk when I see a pair of robins fussing with each other in a roadside maple tree. When three chase after one, I know what they are up to. This morning I’m afoot in the Valley of Love. And that is why I tread carefully through the Swiss Hall parking lot. Not only is love in the air, but on the ground as well. “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” Tennyson says in his poem “Locksley Hall” (l.26). This line comes to mind immediately when I see a discarded condom splayed in the parking lot gravel.

At this juncture an observation about words is in order. One must use them tactfully when broaching a delicate subject. I have chosen “discarded” instead of “used” because “discarded” seems less graphic, just as “nude” implies art, while “naked” means boldly unclothed. In keeping with the decorum I’ve set for this blog, I will post no photo. I will only say I approved of the color, a tasteful pink (now there’s some local Valley color for you). I have also intentionally avoided the phrase “gently used” as I can’t confirm this is factually accurate. Coupling the word “used” with “prophylactic,” a term I came across years ago in a news magazine article  entitled “Proselytizing for Prophylactics,” would not do the trick either.

Of course when I was a lad growing up in the ‘60’s, when the boys got together, we had our own jargon for such items. I don’t remember prophylactic or for that matter condom being among them. With my luck, had I used the “P” word in a request at the pharmacy counter in my small town, the druggist most likely would have handed me a toothbrush.

Now that I have launched this topic, allow me to loosen my grip on decorum to mention a passage from Clyde Rice’s memoir A Heaven in the Eye. While hiking a trail somewhere, the author happens upon a small cross along side “ a grave containing a [discarded] condom.” On the cross were inscribed the words, “The sap of trees holds the sap of Man.” Now that’s a clever use of words!

In my repertoire of jokes I have only one that addresses this topic. I’ll share it now. (There goes the decorum!) The joke uses the time-honored “farmer’s daughter” format, a genera that has spawned many a chuckle—and is therefore much in keeping with this Valley of farms.

The farmer’s daughter married the boy from the farm down the road, and the couple came to live at her house. After the wedding, the newlyweds quickly disappeared upstairs. For three days nothing was seen nor heard of them.

Concerned about their welfare, the farmer called from beneath his daughter’s bedroom window,”Is everything all right up there?”

“Yes, father, we are just fine,” came the reply.

“Well, aren’t you hungry? Have you had anything to eat?”asked the concerned father.

“Father, we are living on the fruits of love,”was the answer.

The farmer replied, “Well, could you please stop throwing the peelings out the window? They’re choking the ducks.”

Two or three years ago for about a month—this time of the year, it was—the little parking lot behind Swiss Hall served as a love nest. And why not? What a romantic site for eager Jack to bring his willing Jill. A pastoral prospect: a secluded spot among barren cornfields and pastureland just a few hundred yards from Werkhovens’ calf pens and the dairy’s manure pond, the mood of the moment enhanced by the pale glow of the corner street light. Future milk Let’s just say that as the nights of passion passed, the fruits of love accumulated to the point that the parking lot became a hazard for foot traffic. The place became less a place to park than retreaded gravel. 

I discussed the situation with my environmentally-sensitive friend Nancy L. We agreed that the spent love blossoms not only blighted the landscape but were also downright disgusting. We were at a loss for a remedy. One day Nancy L discovered a pile of junk mail discarded in the lot. Among the litter she found an address. She gathered up some of the litter, condoms included, packaged the works, enclosed a scathing indictment of the addressee’s foul behavior, and let the U.S. Postal Service deliver the soiled goods. Whether it was Nancy L’s stroke of genius or simply the cooling of passion, we’ll never know, but after her brash action, the accumulation of latex seemed to decline. After a few functions at Swiss Hall, vehicle traffic had pretty much ground away the last vestiges of amour. But today as I leave the fumes of love behind, I realize that Love, like Hope, springs eternal. I just wish it would pick up after itself.

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1 comment:

  1. This post had me chuckling the entire time! Yes, what a romantic 'lovemaking' location. Stay off that metal silver cover folks! Children slide on that (some so unfortunate that a husky female friend could bull them over and hurt their most sensitive of toes). I too recently found a 'discarded' condom on the soccer field at the school. Another romantic coital location...and try explaining to children why they can't even go near that 'balloon'. "But, what's in it?" "Ok kids!!!! Time to line up and go inside!" Oy & ick. :)