Sunday, November 29, 2009


Our Thanksgiving, as in most households, was the usual over indulgence, eighteen pounds of turkey gone in the flash of an eye. It resembled a nature program where the poor calf wanders into the piranha filled tributary deep in the Amazon and is cleaned to the bone in less than two minutes. The appetizer of shrimp lasted maybe five minutes, as we enjoyed a glass of Pinot Noir.

We had the Strayer family over, along with Mike, Carlie and Brian, a total of twelve. As I ordered the bird several days before at the local health food grocery store, they recommended a pound per person. Obviously, they didn’t know the appetites of some of our guests. Three desserts and half a dozen bottles of good wine later, we crawled into bed and slept until ten the next morning. Friday we made plans to head up to the cabin; there were still large logs from several weeks ago that needed to be chopped up into firewood lengths.

There is nothing more manly than whacking a twenty-pound ax at a cut section of a log with the intent on splitting it right down the middle. I handed the ax to Victor, my fourteen year old and stepped back some distance to chain saw our collection of wood into more manageable lengths for the fire place. Being of small stature it took great effort, as he slowly raised the heavy ax over his head and contemplated his downward arc to the center of the nine-inch cut log. He exhaled and let gravity take over, the wedge accelerated faster and faster as it came closer to the object. I heard a resonating thump, followed by a mumble of disappointment; the ax missed the intended target by a good three inches. Victor spent the next few minutes trying to wedge the blade out of the stump the log was resting on.

I watched again, as slowly the blade was raised above his head, this time his eyes remained open as the ax swung down with the force of a freight train. Another dead thud was audible; Victor had managed to hit the center of the log, burying the steal blade a quarter inch into the wood. The vibration shuttered up the handle and through his body, as he released his grip from the handle.

I knew what his next comment would be, “Pappa, this wood is too hard, it’s not going to work!”

We agreed upon reducing the size down to that of a two inch branch, which when met with a twenty pound wedge of steal, would send the shattered, cut section flying over the top of the cabin. Victor liked this idea of air borne timber, better than the shock waves of defeat.

Saturday we slept in until ten again, ate breakfast and went out to resume our manly operations. My not so manly shoulder muscles were feeling the day before. Markus, my sixteen year old and I traded chain saw duties until the remainder of timber was all cut up and stacked out of the winter weather. I think now we have enough, or at least that’s what my back is telling me. Tomorrow it’s back to work.

The Howard/Mandville Gallery sold a 30x40 painting last week without the frame, some people have their own idea of what they want around a certain image, so they will ask for the work without the existing frame. So now they are requesting another boat painting to fill the void.

Richard Boyer

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