Friendships are like woodworking projects in a lot of ways. For example, you have to start with the basics. You need an idea, plan, or some type of picture of what it is you want to build or end up with. You then measure, cut, fit, assemble, and so on, to end up with a finished project you can cherish for a long time.
Sometimes you end up with something totally unexpected. In some cases you abandon the project or never bring it to a finished state.
Once in a while you end up with a project that surpasses all your expectations and turns out to be a rare treasure. You cherish these projects and enjoy them. After all, a lot of hard work goes into them.
After you rough cut the wood for a project you don’t follow with the finish coat of stain. There are a lot of in-between steps that go into the project before you get to finished stage in the project.
My point is, a worthwhile project takes time and effort. Some projects take much longer than others.
With a lot of time and a hard work invested in getting to know the neighbor lady, I eventually gained her trust and confidence. This is not always an easy task with someone who has been deeply hurt and teased most of her life because of her handicap and other life challenges.
Her best friend, her mother, had died and she never really had anyone to replace her. Her father had died several years earlier so it had just left the two of them.
No doubt they struggled to take care of the house and rather large yard. It would have been a chore, even without her handicap.
Initially I admit my motives for wanting to help clean up her yard and do things like cutting the lawn, repair the fence and other similar projects, was because I was selfish and wanted it to look nice next door to our house.
Over time, I was finally able to convince her to let me help clean up the yard. This was no small task. Her mother had planted the old Lilac stand. The BBQ pit was built by her father; the same with the old rusted cloths lines that hung so low they almost touched the ground.
The weeds, Creeping Charlie and grass were out of control. I’m still surprised the city hadn’t issued a ticket for an ordinance violation.
It was agreed that the cleanup would begin. I told her I would take care of arranging it all. She didn’t have to worry or need to deal with any of it.
I contacted a local guy and hired him to bring his skid loader and dump truck over along with a chainsaw.
Promptly at 7:00AM we started.
I assumed Ms. D was at work as I never heard or saw her and all the window shades were down.
I keep busy coordinating the job. There was just the two of us, the owner of the equipment and myself.
After the third dump-truck load of old junk, tree stumps, branches, concrete, flower pots, and cloths line posts, it was time to tackle the Lilac bushes.
This old stand of Lilacs was overgrown and had outlived their usefulness. This stand was about 50 years old. It hardly even bloomed anymore. But it invoked very fond memories of Ms. D’s mother. She had planted it. Her mother was a great gardener she tells me.
The operator of the skid loader was struggling to get the Lilac roots to come out. He suggested we cut them off so we could get a chain around them and pull them out by the roots. Having done this many times in the past when I used to operate equipment I agreed.
He got his chainsaw out and handed it to me. “Start cutting!” he ordered, “We don’t have all day; the landfill closes at 4:00PM. There are a lot of lilacs here.” He then got back into the skid loader. I stood and looked at the chain saw. He opened the cab door and said “What are you waiting for”?
“Oh nothing I was just looking at how this chain saw works”, I responded.
“Well, start it up and get cutting”
Panic almost set in. Certainly he had seen that I had a deformed hand, right?
Obviously he could see I had no real functional use of it.
To this day I don’t really know if he did or not.
Suddenly I reached over, stepped on the bottom of the chainsaw and pulled the cord and started it, using my one good hand. I then clamped on to the handle with my deformed hand and ran the trigger with my other hand and started sawing the Lilacs.
I was shaking so hard I almost dropped the chain saw.
I couldn’t let him see this.
It’s a good thing I turned and faced the other way with my back towards him.
That way he couldn’t see the tears running down my cheek.
My hand was so sore and weak it just throbbed. It had swelled up so much my glove barely fit.
I keep at it.
The last Lilac tree was finally cut and loaded in the dump truck. All the machinery was shut off and he was preparing to load up the skid loader and his chainsaw.
He asked me why my eyes were all red. I said, “Oh, I have major allergies.” It was all I could think of.
He then finished loading his equipment and thanked me, handed me the bill and left.
I thanked him. He has no idea how thankful I was.
I sat down and cried like a baby.
It wasn’t because of my allergies.
(Protected by copy write, all rights reserved ,D.Jerzak 3-2-2007)