This story from my time at Buck Brook Farm in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York is for the amusement of my friends of the Western states. You folk from the east and midwest will fine it an excuse to ask, “What? Doesn’t everyone use their floormat to keep their feet off the highway?”
Actually, the answer is no. No, we do not.
I was twenty-two before I landed on winter roads in New York State. My driving skills had been honed in the traffic and on the mountain roads of Idaho. And in Idaho we used sand to give traction on our winter roads. Not salt.
Sure, sometimes a rock got through the sand sifters and rock chips were a part of windshields and paint jobs. But the undercarriage of our car lasted longer than the engine.
Imagine my discomfort when I got in one of the small sedans of a Buck Brook staff member and felt lumps under the rubber-and-carpet floor mat beneith my feet.
It turns out the lumps were the frame of the car. Between the beams of the frame there was nothing but the highway zipping by at fifty miles an hour and only inches from my precious tootsies!
The car’s owner laughed it off with a shrug, sped up, and replied, “Oh, sure. This car is over seven years old and I never bothered washing off the salt.”
What? One has to wash the bottom of a car?!
They are funny folks, those Easterners.