By chilly Emmet
You find out who your friends are when you have three cords of wood in your driveway.
There are several schools of thought about that pile of wood. Every time someone drops that load in my driveway, the seller suggests that aging it as long as possible in the driveway. Blue Eyes, who has Neat Disease, insists that the wood should be moved to the safety of the barn, just as soon as possible. She would pile it inside right away and probably dust the pile at least once a week.
I, myself am prone to listen to the experts and leave the three cords right where it sits.
What do I know?
I must admit, being the laziest man alive (except for Grima) that I have the left previous woodpiles for much too long. The wood froze into a giant snow and ice ball. I had to buy a sledge hammer to slam into the pile just to get a day’s worth of wood. I tried to “harvest” the wood when there was no traffic on my road. Like people didn’t know. I must admit, I liked the way the frozen wood hissed when it finally caught fire in the stove. But it took a lot of kindling to get those fires going.
To avoid a repeat of this Cobb Manor Fiasco, I have suggested numerous times on phone calls and visits to Trackside bar and grille that we “should have a wood stacking party.” Many hands make the load light, right?
I am greeted with the sounds of nearby crickets until someone orders another round. Everyone present changes the subject as soon as possible. “How about those Red Sox?” asked Jefferson Phil who despises baseball. He once took books and newspapers to a game in Fort Myers.
Nobody works like Blue Eyes. She wakes up in the morning with a mental list of chores that would take several Hercules clones to fulfill. If she was in good health, she would show up early some weekend morning and shame me into moving the entire woodpile inside. Lucky for me she has shoulder and back issues and will not be moving a stick. As a Rockland philosopher once observed years ago, “Emmet is not as old as he looks and (Blue Eyes) is no spring chicken.” She hated that. Still does.
My current craze, as I lay upon my couch covered with an aphgan, is to watch “Mountain Men” on television. This History Channel production covers a series of outdoor heroes from coast to coast, including the Machias River. These guys just love being alone and hiking into the wilderness to trap animals, build houses and hunt mountain lions. These are my heroes. Mountain Man Charlie Tucker got trapped in Maine’s Great North Woods during a severe winter storm. I would have perished, crying in the dark. He used his omnipresent axe and saw to fell trees and cut them to size to fashion a lean-to as a wind shelter. By the magic of television this happened in a moment or two, before the scene shifted to the Appalachian Mountains. When we came back, our boy was shivering but was safe from the winds. His biggest worry was all the sweat he developed while felling and cutting the trees. He was afraid of hypothermia. I had to pull the afghan closer to fight off that September chill in the Cobb Manor living room.
That Mountain Man hero did more work in that one segment than I have since I retired/was fired in 2001.
My current plan is to cover the pile with a big tarp and let that wood age where it sits.
Unless, of course you want to come to a wood-stacking party.