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Forum Post: The Last Cord

Posted 5 years ago on April 2, 2013, 8:09 p.m. EST by ZenDogTroll (13032) from South Burlington, VT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The second of April brought snow squalls early in the morning. By 7:30 the sky was low and dark, white flakes swirled in an angry fog as I hooked up the trailer. Leaving the yard the radio announcer said route 2 was closed between Shunpike and Brownell roads. A tractor trailer had slid off the road and into the deep ravine that is Muddy Brook. It took a couple or three hours to clean up the mess.

By the time I was pulling into Mallets Bay the sun was out, and the pavement almost dry, but they hadn't had as much snow - barely a dusting. But you could see the marks alongside Severance Road where cars had slid off and into the ditch just an hour or two earlier.

I picked up a ton of pellets for the stove, turned around and headed home. Got them all stacked inside by 11, turned around and gassed up at the corner store, dropped the pallet off at the dump, it was busted up from the forklift as it was loaded, no good for anything but chips now. But none of the bags of pellets had been harmed, and now they were all safe inside.

At 1 pm I fired up the backhoe, got out the tongs, hooked them on the bucket, and began moving eight foot logs closer to the rows of stacked sixteen inch chunks. The closer the logs are to the stack, the less distance I have to carry the blocks. Each log has six blocks, and some of them were big. The big ones I rolled into place, and the small ones I stacked on top.

Somewhere in there I grabbed a bite to eat, came back and finished up. It was the last of my loads of logs. The last cord of blocks. I stacked the last of it, and leaned back on the row, my arm resting on top.

I had been looking forward to that last cord of blocks. Don't know why. It means now there is a ton of splitting to be done.

As I leaned there, enjoying the satisfaction of the end of that chore, I could hear dog tags jingle.

It was the neighbor ladies, strolling out of the field and across the driveway, past the garden, led by the two hounds, looking my way with interest. I petted the mongrels, the ladies and I chatted, the wind blew cold, and then they headed home.

I took the saw inside, and hadn't got ten minutes into the news, when the phone rang. It was the neighbor ladies. We had just been chatting about her horse out by the wood pile. When she got home, it was down, and not getting up.

The vet was on the way. Would I dig a hole?

The horse is gone now. Buried under a few feet of dirt. Buried, like Rasta, my other neighbor's dog, Joe and Duffer, a husky I loved and a beagle I didn't.

The surviving horse ran around the coral until it was lame, I stopped digging a couple of times and just held the bucket up by the edge of the hole, in case I needed to shoe the horse away from the edge, and my neighbor stood with her arms out. She finally hooked a lead on the harness once the nervous animal got tired.

The carcass slid into the hole, the dirt went back over top, and I dressed up the area best I could in near darkness. The surviving horse was still nervous, pacing, a bit lame. Didn't seem right, packing the dirt with the bucket, then driving over top. But that's the way it was, the way it had to be. The surviving horse is going to paw at that fresh dug grave.

She's alone now, and doesn't understand, but that is what awaits us all. The flesh will rot in the ground, or burn to ash in the undertaker's incinerator.

Once, I pickled apples from the crab apple tree, ran to the end of the lawn, through the brush and over the stone wall to the woods road so I could cut them both off and lead them home, with the scent of fresh picked crab apple an inch from their nose. Don't know how they got loose that day.

He was the one I led home, she followed behind. Now he's gone and she will be alone. That's just the way it is.

None of us gets out alive.



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[-] 1 points by freakzilla (-161) from Detroit, MI 5 years ago

When I was little my pony Wildfire busted down his stall during a blizzard. We ran around calling his name, but he was lost. It's hard to get these hard times right on out of our minds.


[-] 0 points by freakzilla (-161) from Detroit, MI 5 years ago


[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Ever heard from that hen again? :)


[-] 1 points by OTP (-203) from Tampa, FL 5 years ago

Pssss- I heard that OTP and HCHC are the same people. HCHC claimed that no one person could ban someone, that it needed a consensus.... and then the laws of private ownership took over.

Sucks. 3k points down the tubes. :(

[-] 0 points by Narley (272) 4 years ago

Since we’re telling stories, let me tell you about my day yesterday. On Tuesday I rode my Harley from Austin to Shreveport (330 miles) to meet my older brother and go to the horse races. I lost $20, no big deal. I stayed at the hotel by the horse track. Got up early Wednesday to ride home. Temp was about 55 degrees and foggy so I dressed warm. So about thirty miles out of town I stopped for coffee and a quick bite. Got ready to leave and the bike wouldn’t start.

An irritation, but I carry roadside assistance on my insurance. To make a long story short, I stood around waiting and waiting, and calling to find out when the tow truck would arrive. Finally, around 1:00 another biker stopped by and he called the Harley shop to come pick up the bike. The Harley truck got there about 3:30. Got to the Harley shop in Shreveport and it took them a while to clean the injectors. So, about 5:00 PM I started my 330 mile ride home.

It was getting colder again. I’d say about 50 degrees, but at 65 MPH the chill factor was probably below freezing. I considered turning back and spending the night in Shreveport and leaving in the morning when it would be warmer. But I told myself I’d ridden in the cold before, even when it was snowing a couple of times, And I’m a tough old bird. I could do this. I just didn’t factor in I’m an old man in my late sixties.

Anyway, The sun was in my eyes and I had difficulty seeing until the sun went down. Then after dark it got colder and I stopped and stuffed some newspaper in my clothes. That helped a lot. So driving the back roads in rural east Texas, through the piney woods, riding slower through the twisties and watching to make sure a deer wasn’t waiting to jump out in the road. I was freezing, bone tired and so stiff I couldn’t hardly put my feet down. But I got home a little after midnight. My wife made me some hot soup and chewed my ass out for pulling such a stunt at my age. But I told her it’s just my way of knowing I’m still alive. I hated it and enjoyed it at the same time. Even geezers are real.


[-] 0 points by Narley (272) 4 years ago

I agree. The times I rode when it was snowing I was caught up in the mountains and had to ride down the mountain to get out of it.


[-] -1 points by Narley (272) 4 years ago

That's a sad story. Sorry to hear about your friend. People do dumb things sometime. Even my ride home from Shreveport wasn't the smartest thing to do. I could've easily gotten frostbite or hit a deer, and I would have been stuck in the middle of nowhere until morning. I was just lucky.

[-] -1 points by Devonshire (81) from Norwich, VT 4 years ago

That was a good story.