OK, probably not so much but it's been suggested. I amuse most of the good ol' boys around here just by virtue of being me, but in the months since I started working the amusement seems to have turned from "haha, you're a sissy girl" to something more along the lines of, "She's a pretty good worker... for a woman!" I'm fairly certain that Paul meant that as equal parts joke and hearty compliment, and it's something I hold close and carry proudly with me out here.
Jim has been working on the house near to where most of the pigs are kept. Apparently on his smoke breaks he watches us work from the windows. One day we got done around the same time, and I walked over to say hello. "How's it going Kate?" he asked. "Out there workin' like a man?"
His favorite joke now seems to revolve around me arm-wrestling the other guy working on the house, Ray— and winning, of course. Yesterday as I was filling buckets of water, Jim stuck his head out the window and hollered to Ray, who was carrying sheets of drywall or something, "Well lookatchu Ray, carrying two at once! If you keep that up you'll be as strong as Kate!"
Amidst the blood [literal], sweat [literal], and tears [figurative] of the day, that just struck me as so incredibly funny that I was grinning about it all evening. On some days it feels as if my body's going to break if I try to lift or throw or hoist or... anything else! Other days, however, the combination of icy wind and a gently warming sun and pig problems makes me feel so very much alive that each breath feels like a renewal. This must be what the French mean when they talk about joie de vivre.
This morning I was out in a field perched on the tractor bucket 8 feet above the frozen ground, tipping bags of grain into a big feeder. Chew [his name is either Jimmy or Johnny but no one can ever remember so he just goes by Chew... wah not?]... anyway Chew walked up and we talked about this n' that... as he bid good day he paused, turned to me [by that time climbing back onto the tractor] and said "You know, I'm gon' brag on you a bit now but, for a woman... you amaze me."
Seems I really earned the soft pink Carhartt hat that keeps me warm when I'm out working with the pigs. Many thanks to Chuck and Nadine for the badge of honor.