Don’t Tell Helen

I half-heartedly planned a jaunt to Boston on Saturday, to a boutique shopping event.  I made my reservation, paid the entrance fee, and starting working through the logistics in my head.  A shopping trip to “the big city” was just what I needed, right?  Who cares if house renovation bills are looming above my head like a flock of seagulls over a dropped French fry at Old Orchard Beach?

Fortunately, for my pocketbook, I stopped by my parents’ house on one of this week’s sunny afternoons.  Herman was out in his lawn chair and Helen was in the house on the phone.  My father asked me if I had cleaned up all the brush from our last lumberjack adventure.  I replied in the affirmative and he asked if I had any more trees I wanted cut down.

“There are a few more that should come down.  Do you want to come over on Saturday morning?  Eight o’ clock.”

Maybe I’ve not been completely clear here on the three years I’ve been writing this blog.  For the record, my father loves his chainsaws.  He’d cut down every tree on my property if I suggested it.  He has a chainsaw engraved on his side of the cemetery headstone he shares with my mother.  I’m glad he got his hip replaced because he and Uncle Bob can probably cut a few more cords of wood this year.

“Tell your mother to write it on the calendar.”

The black fly arrival being imminent, I quickly nixed my trip to Boston.  I’ve got to take what help I can get.

Herman arrived pronto at eight o’clock with his saw and two pulp hooks.  I always laugh when I see his chainsaw, with his name written on the top in indelible ink.


His saw is not to be confused with one belonging to anyone else, like, say, Uncle Bob or The Fonz.

We got right to it, Herman sawing down dead trees and me dragging them out of the way.  My house and property sit on a hill and some of the trees we worked on were on a precarious slope.  I was a little nervous; my father was wearing some old boots that didn’t seem to have much ankle support.  I was worried that in due time, his foot might slip.

And it did.  It was an innocent tumble and my father must have his PhD in chainsaw safety because the saw went flying away from us.  He lost his balance and did a tuck and roll like a stunt man.

“Dad!  Are you all right?”

He got up, nonplussed.

“Just got to roll with it,” he said.

We worked for about two hours and he seemed fine when he left.  I’d see him on Mother’s Day afternoon when he and Helen came over and I could unobtrusively make sure he wasn’t limping or anything.

Me?  I have decided I am incredibly out of shape from sitting all day; I’m somewhat ashamed that my soon to be 82-year-old father can outwork me.  On Sunday morning, I managed to drag myself out of bed to finish moving the birch logs up the hill, cross fit style.  On my father’s recommendation (“don’t lift that birch”) I used the pulp hook to move it end over end.

A clearer viewAnd when my parents came over, Herman was just fine.


We’ll file that story under “Don’t tell Helen.”

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3 Responses to Don’t Tell Helen

  1. Gina Mason says:

    Mums the word!

  2. Loosehead Prop says:

    While I’m not pleased to read about your father rolling down a hillside flinging chainsaws, I am very happy to read that he has recovered so well and so fully from the hip replacement surgery.

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