Lumberjacks Come Out of the Woodwork
Neighbors. We’ve all got ’em. They can be great friends,
helpful when needed; folks who possess the “pride of place” that can make
our neighborhoods quite attractive. They can be the kind of folks we enjoy
living near, or the kind of folks we don’t. Every neighborhood has a couple
of households the rest of us wish would simply move away tomorrow.
I am fortunate enough to live near a majority of pleasant,
helpful neighbors. We don’t really “visit.” We keep to ourselves, we’re
relatively quiet, we mind our own business. We know each other’s pets, and
if one wanders, we get it back home right away.
When I was sick, one neighbor picked up my mail and
newspaper every single day for months, delivered them, made sure I had a hot
meal, and then washed the dishes. One of my neighbors is an affable fellow I
consider my “rent-a-husband.” He takes care of my lawn. When my satellite
dish was covered by three feet of snow, he waded through it, climbed up a
ladder, and swept it clean so I could watch “The Amazing Race.” Another
neighbor got up from his dinner and came to jump start my car the afternoon
my mother died. I’d had one of those NPR “driveway moments” the night
before, and left the ignition on.
I was eating lunch this week when that same neighbor
called. “You’re blocked,” he said. I wondered how he knew I’d reached a
point in writing a story when eating was the only option. Turns out, about
75 feet of a huge white pine had crashed across my driveway.
This happened about the time Brownie and I usually stroll
down to get our mail. (Yes, Brownie does get mail — lots of it from you,
dear readers!) I’m glad that was another thing I had procrastinated about
The neighbor offered to come over with a chainsaw. One
look told me this wouldn’t make much of a dent in the damage. I called
another fellow who lives close by. Meanwhile, my “rent-a-husband” walked out
his door to assess the driveway commotion.
“Got a chainsaw?”
Sure he did. He strolled over with his wife and son. Soon,
there were three men wielding chainsaws, seeming to relish the task. Men
turn into Paul Bunyan when chainsaw-wielding is necessary. The onlookers
included two women — the wife and me — the little boy, about eight, and, of
course, Brownie. It became an impromptu party. The cacophonous buzzing made
conversation almost impossible, but the wife and I stood there with our arms
crossed, muttering about the wonders of testosterone. One man also had an
ax, which he used on the smaller branches. Sawdust swirled around, and blew
into our eyes. The threat of danger was palpable. I kept one hand on my cell
phone, ready to call the rescue squad. Thankfully, this was not necessary.
It’s amazing the quick work three men with chainsaws and
axes can make of a huge, downed pine tree. In less than an hour, the whole
mess was pushed and thrown and shoveled off the driveway and down the
hillside, where it will lie in perpetuity. So much for an attractive
Now, I’m afraid to go to sleep. Two gigantic white pines
tower on the steep hillside right behind my house. Each is perfectly
positioned over a bedroom, ready to kill without warning. I had an expert
look at taking them down. He said they were too big; he said he is afraid to
attempt the task.
Today, at the hair salon, I leafed through MaryJanesFarm
magazine. The reason I picked it up is this cover blurb: “Girl-Friendly
I was hoping to find, perhaps, a pink chainsaw. But no.
Instead, I found an 11-pound easy-start model, along with this message,
“Once you get the hang of it, handling a chainsaw can be as routine as
starting a car.” Oh really? A sidebar listed necessary accessories like a
hard-hat (I know they come in pink!), and a rather attractive pair of
bright-orange apron chaps the writer dubs “essential.” Should I entertain
the fairly unthinkable idea of getting my own chainsaw, I’ll also need
“sturdy lug-sole boots with steel toes.” Well, at least I’d have an excuse
to go shoe shopping.
It’s really a shame no one sells a bottle of spray-on
testosterone. Then, I’d be all set.