Archive for Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cat’s Eye: No longer one of the dust-covered

August 1, 2007

If you can't stand the dust, get out of the country! That is, in essence, what we rural dwellers are told when we complain about the offending powder that envelopes our houses, coats our window screens and rose bushes, and chokes out Aunt Sally's BBQ birthday party. We're labeled whiners and spoiled urbanites who didn't count the cost of chip and seal.

It's true it never occurred to us that we'd have to have a budget category for Dust Abatement because of constantly replacing air filters and vacuum bags, and paying our kids to dust the furniture every other day.

And yes, we were clueless as to the allergens that ride around on this dust looking for victims. I never dreamed I'd say to my kid, "You better not go outside today -- it wouldn't be good for your health. Just play another couple of hours of Nintendo."

I've spent eight years checking the dust level outside in addition to the temperature and humidity, but because of the recent paving of County Road 30, I'm no longer among the ranks of the dust-covered.

I can now walk through my grass without stirring up a cloud that would rival that of the comic strip character, Pigpen.

The recent rain washed off all the bushes, and THEY STAYED THAT WAY. I'M PLANNING A BBQ.

I'm reveling in a world that's brighter, a sky that's bluer and air that's fresher, but I haven't forgotten those of you still "left in the dust." Allow me to do a bit of complaining on your behalf.

I'd be the first to admit that a certain amount of dust is expected in the country, but it really isn't necessary for us to live in the proverbial dust bowl where dust hangs in the air on still evenings like fog. I grew up in the country in Nebraska at an intersection of two gravel roads, and I never experienced the kind of dust we have in Leavenworth County.

The key word in that last sentence is GRAVEL. River rock-type gravel doesn't get crushed into dust in a week like limestone. And that truckload of "rock" the county dumps on periodically is at least 75 percent dust to start with! (The other 25 percent is made up of the sharpest rocks they can find. I may be paranoid, but I think they have bets on tire punctures.)

I know, I know, "You'll never get stuck on a rock road." But once it has a base of rock, couldn't something be put on top that doesn't turn every inch of our property and lungs gray?

So, country dwellers, unite! Don't let them call you whiny and clueless! Keep complaining! Keep asking for less dust in every load. Keep asking for river rock gravel.

I'm no longer one of you, but I still feel your pain -- just not as much as I did last week.

--Jodi Bowersox

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