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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Doing Macho Things With My Daughters

A cheery fire sends warm , flickering light through the window of the wood stove as the family gathers round enjoying the warmth. Yes, this is the magic of a wood stove in the home. The magic quickly fades away when I send the call out, “Time to bring in more wood.” The kids suddenly find reasons to disappear to their chilly rooms where the heat of the fire does not reach. The magic is gone, when, in the mornings I find that I cannot build another fire because the ashes in the stove are too deep. Then I find I cannot shovel out the ashes because the ash bucket is already full. That means pulling on some boots and sneaking out in my bathrobe in the pre-dawn dark to empty the bucket. Those cheery fires do come with a cost.

Recently it was wood cutting day in preparation for the coming winter. When I bring this up to my kids there are groans. They know how much work cutting wood is. There is a lot of sweat and no glamour to hefting up a log that is too big to put your arms around and carrying it across uneven ground to a trailer. Repeating this one hundred times leads to very sore bodies and a dread of the next wood cutting day.

My three older boys are out of the home now and are not available to help anymore (they will grin when they read this). On this wood cutting day my fourth son was at scout camp and couldn’t come along either. I actually saw him grin when he learned he would be missing the family event. This left my two older daughters—one sixteen and one fourteen. So much macho work to do and my only help are girls. Sigh.

I learned that girls can bring with them many surprises. My first surprise came when neither of my daughters complained when I told them we would be going to cut wood on Saturday. Oh, I could see the groan in their eyes, but no negative words escaped their lips. They certainly had other plans for their Saturday and they knew how much work this was going to be. I was moved by this maturity in them, but tried not to show it.

My second surprise came when they didn’t mock me when the first tree cutting went all wrong. I figured the tree would fall a particular direction and cut a notch on that side. When the tree leaned back on my saw, trapping it, I had to cut with my backup saw on the other side. The tree fell into the thorniest, thickest brambles on the mountain. My girls witnessed the whole macho fiasco and said not a word. I was grateful.

After I cut my way in to where the fallen tree lay I got to work cutting it up. My girls, without any direction from me, got to work carrying these rather large logs to the pickup and stacking them there. This is when my third surprise came. My girls started singing as they worked. When my saw wasn’t running I heard beautiful voices dancing around the notes of songs they have learned in their respective choir classes. This was far more pleasant from the kinds of noises that boys make when they work.

We loaded up my truck and came home stopping for drinks at a local convenience store. We were covered in sawdust, dirt, and charcoal from half burned logs, but we were happy. My girls took a macho job, completed it quickly, and added grace and beauty to the task in a way that guys could never do. I think I would rather have my daughters with me for all my macho tasks.


Timothy Stakland said...

This makes me want to go cut some wood! Were I still nearby you could take me on your next excursion!

Thanks for posting!

Joe Cummings said...

I liked your story. How do you think they would do pulling up my garden and getting it ready for winter?

Joe Cummings said...

I liked your story. How do you think they would do pulling up my garden and getting it ready for winter?

The Shirleys said...

My dad could commiserate with you since most of his help through the years was from his daughters.

The young men those two meet will be very surprised and impressed by the things they can do and have done. Most guys like a women that can work along side them. :0)

Anonymous said...

Glad you included a picture--those are no twigs the girls are hefting! Very impressed.

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