Friday, January 9, 2009

Minnesota 21.7.02: Idyllic Farmland and Catseye Glasses

Idyllic farmland and ugly people with horrific secrets hidden under the guise of holy family: but that theme’s been done to death.

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Last night, in Hutchinson, Minnesota, I watched a man and wife eating dinner, never saying a word to each other. They were at a small square table, but sitting catty-corner from each other. She had badly dyed hair, coal black, in a tight wavy frizz across the top of her head. Her eyes were rapacious, curiously vacant and at the same time fixed greedily on her feed. He was nondescript, a beefy-faced aging farmer, iron-gray hair slicked back from the forehead.

They ate and ate, meat and potatoes, methodically sawing at the meat, putting forkful after forkful into their mouths, never saying a word or showing the slightest interest in their surroundings. She would occasionally cut a forkful of meat, raise it into the air, and look at it and sigh, as if it daunted her.

Then they stopped eating, exchanged a word or two about the quality of the meat (she was displeased), and prepared to leave. She put on those catseye glasses in silver frames that seem always to have a chain on them, wrote a check, and they left.

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