How David Crosby Drained our Oil
I knew we'd be forced to overcome fearsome odds when, after the ninth phone call, I was still hearing the phrase,
"Golly, I just don't know what you'll do with those giant drums of leaking, spoiled oil."
Coming to a farm--or rather, coming to a hopeful plot of land and undertaking the long, long road of turning it into a farm--requires that you step into a tangled mesquite patch of history, laws, and pre-existing conditions.
And just as with any pre-existing condition, there's some red-tape and a lot of smacking of the forehead.
And as sickeningly precious as it surely sounds, we were fortunate enough that overall, our farm's pre-existing condition was well, pretty damn great. We have enormous support, much-needed tools (hi there, tractor!), and an established infrastructure (hello ponds, irrigation pipes, barns and trees!). It really, really can't be said enough how lucky we are.
However, there was the problem of the oozing oil.
These once-useful drums weren't putting anyone in danger nor getting in the way of growing yummy organic foodstuffs. (We do try to avoid planting lettuce directly into petroleum byproducts.) However, I'd been on a cleaning kick and had the "Let's-Turn-This-Barn-Into-A-Functional-Yet-Groovy-Space-While-Never-Neglecting-Our-Responsibility-To-Safely-Recycle-And-Repurpose!" mania that usually fuels my must-do projects.
So...I needed an Oil Hero. And they were in short supply, ergo the befuddled phone responses. I tried every recycling center and dialed every toxic and municipal waste hotline my fingers could tap out. I began to dream of my own cottage industry refinery.
But then, amidst the phone line static, I reach a voice.
There's 2 or 3 minutes of coughing as well, but I DO reach a voice.
I reach more than a voice.
I reach the answer.
I reach...David Crosby.
Apparently he works for an oil recycling center in Alvin now. Dynamic guy, that one.
Dearest Milton of Gulf Coast Oil Recycling should seriously consider hitting up the nearby biker bar to see how many free Budweisers he can get from his uncanny resemblance to the Tolkien-haired David.
During our phone call, Milton had cheerfully promised me he'd be out the next day and to "look for the big green truck."
And by golly, he parked that chartreuse steed alongside the barn and expertly sucked soil, packed away corroding drums and spun us a few yarns all before 11am the next morning. He endured my non-stop questions about his job and his past, where the oil goes and how it's cleaned and where he'd already been that day. Alex groaned, and Milton had a winsome chuckle.
He dazzled both me and Alex with stories of his chihuahuas (Betty Boop used to favor a spot on his shoulder), his penchant for giving any of his myriad guitars away to any child who ever asks for one and the efficiency and good humor he showed in doing his job.
Milton was a delight, and his visit managed to stay with me long after he left.
Perhaps it was his faintly magical air-- the feather in his hat and nearly Santa-like twinkle in his eye.
Maybe it's because he looked a lot like David Crosby.
I like to think that mostly, it was because it's a true pleasure to meet someone happy,
someone who helps others while living life as it comes.
And he knew exactly what to do with that ooze.