The mind is a strange acting piece of the body every once in a while. Well, at least, I know mine does indeed wander down memory lane without any encouragement. It is a vital piece of equipment for the body. There are times, it is most unpredictable though. Especially those moments just before one is really fully awake. This morning was one of those beginnings. My mind had taken me back to the days when I was working cutting wood into Parmachenee for D.C. Morton. I woke thinking about my chain saws and remembering I had to fix my spare saw. For a second or two, I wondered why that memory came to the surface of my wandering mind. It was then I thought about my saw that I tried to get running yesterday. That thought joined with another about the trailer I just moved for a special friend. I was remembering the trailer the five of us cutters lived in that winter. Those thoughts joined with the fact I had to fix my truck yesterday. You see, I forgotten that this 1978 Ford 350 was a bit wider than my last truck. A situation occurred where I had to venture through the woods with my big truck. I had traveled down this trail many times with my other trucks so there was little thought of any problems. Things went as I expected until I had to drive up a slight rise where a rock always presented a slight challenge. Well, this big ole 400 cubic inch motor would not have a problem when I give it a bit more throttle. So, I did. I stepped on the gas pedal and the truck jumped to the challenge. It was then the forest reminded me there were indeed trees on the side of the road. Some trees are actually closer to the edge than others. One four-inch maple tree reached out and slapped the mirror of my truck. The mirror broke and folded back. This also bent the door frame and remodeled the passenger side window.  All of this reminded me of the time my younger brother tried working in the woods with us. He was not physically fit for such a task. On the way back out of the woods he was sitting in the middle between my older brother and I.  He had fallen asleep thanks to the nice warm pickup truck. Shortly after we turned down the Morton Cut off road, I spied an old overgrown road a short distance up ahead.  I motioned to my older brother, the driver, to turn down that road. About the time the truck entered the overgrown road, we both hollered and made a bunch of noise. Younger brother woke up and all he saw was trees in front of him. I believe he lost about ten years of his life right then and there. I think it was the laughter coming from older brother and I that hinted he had been fooled. He vowed to never again ride with us and not work in the woods ever again.

I also fondly remembered those days when I could like a young buck, just jump right out of bed. Without any effort, go to the kitchen area and get the coffee started. While the coffee was getting ready for the crew, I would go outside and fire up my skidder. There was little thought of just how cold it might be outside. One had to get the machine running to warm up all of the hydraulic fluid for work that day.  One thought little of how the cold weather affected the body joints. It was work and it had to be done.

Now, with just a hint of cold weather the hands begin to object. Your knees and ankles tell you that rain is on its way. Getting out of bed is no longer a jump but a slither and a slide. Body parts have to be perfectly aligned before you stand as upright as you can. The journey to the coffee pot and the wood stove are a bit more painful than they used to be. I have no complaints, because this is life. My grandmother told me once, “If ya didn’t own it, ya wouldn’t have to worry about it breaking down”.  My body still has all of the original parts, and they still function as designed. Maybe a bit slower and at times not as expected, but they still work. The truck, the chain saws and other stuff is another story. They do break down, and yet, that is part of life. This is sort of like putting more spices in the soup. One needs spices in life to keep us alert to just what might happen next.  That tree slapping the mirror just reminded me “Pay attention next time ole man!”

Ken White
1946 model of a country fella.

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