Art feared his mother’s question only because he was sure she would discover the surprise his father had planned. The traces of his consternation flickered across Art’s face. Hank quickly supplied a response by saying, “I had him doing something for me and it stained his hands. We will have to put up with it until the stain wears off.”
Hank continued by changing the subject, “ I’m going to miss these mid day meals with you.” Everyone turned their attention to him. He continued, “I ran into Ab at the gas station and he is ready to start cutting over in Leeds.” Ab Dunn, was a long time friend of Hank’s. They often worked together cutting wood. And on some occasions guided hunting and fishing parties.
Linda asked, “When do you start?” Hank replied, “Saturday.” Linda continued, “Will you try to see your dad one more time before you get back in the woods?” Hank responded, “I’ll call mom tonight and see how he is doing.” We’ll have a couple of weeks of day work getting a camp set up. So I’ll be home nights and Sundays until the camp is ready. After that I’ll be home Friday night till Monday morning.
Then to the children, he said, “You will all have to sharpen up on your chores while I’m in the woods.” He added, “Art’s finger has healed enough so he can do his work so we should be able get along all right.” To Art he cautioned, “Remember to close the grain bins, feed cost too much to be feeding it to the varmints. You’ll have to milk both morning and evening, don’t forget.” Then to all, “It is going to take all of you helping out and please, no one get hurt.”
Hank explained, “Your work here allows me to earn some money we will need later this year. So in a sense you are earning the money too.”
Phyllis chimed, “Oh boy, I know what I’m going to do with my money.” The family looked at her incredulously.
Her mother indulging her for the moment asked, “And what is that Dear?” Phyllis replied, “Take a long vacation.”
There were groans and snickers from around the table.
Virginia spoke quietly but potently, “That is a good idea because that would give the rest of us a real nice vacation.” Then Virginia seeing Phyllis flushed, speechless, and on the verge tears caused Virginia to recant. Virginia said apologetically, “I’m sorry Stinky. I was just teasing you.” Everyone was surprised by Virginia’s remark. As she was the frequent ally of Phyllis and this seemed out of character.
Linda was already missing having Hank around all day and put her hand on his to comfort herself. She knew it was necessary for Hank to get that wood cut as it was a means to generate the needed cash. Linda assumed they would be cutting firewood to sell as they had the other years.
Hank explained, “We are going to major on cutting pulp. We will take the fire-wood along the way that we need for ourselves of course.” Hank continued, “The paper mills are back in operation.”
There had been a long labor-strike. The strike had reduced the demand for pulp-wood. The mills had continued to buy pulp until their pulp yards were full. But there had been no need to cut pulp for almost two years.
However the mills would use up their reserves filling back orders from publishers. Then the demand for pulp-wood was expected to go up. Ab reasoned, if they could get several hundred cord ready for pick up they could make top dollar on the pulp.
Hank stood up leaned over and kissed Linda and said, “Thanks for the lunch, it was good.” He then gathered up his dishes and carried them to the sideboard by the sink.
Linda then asked, “Can I use the truck to go over to camp to visit Ruth?” Hank replied with a smile and wink at Art, “That will be fine. Art and I will get the tools gathered and I can pack the truck tomorrow.”
Hank and Art went back to the shop and selected the items they thought they would need to hang the shelf. Then they spent their wait time getting the items Hank knew he would want on the truck tomorrow gathered in one place. They placed them on a platform they used for a loading dock when they unloaded the feed truck. The pile of project related items grew over the next hour. It came to include: Saws, Axes, Ropes, Chains, and Come-alongs. A blanket, foul weather gear, spare boots, spare socks, tool boxes, a 100 pound keg of nails, rolls of tar paper, roofing nails, and a lot of, etc.
Then Hank got his two-man buck saw from its hangers and began examining it for broken teeth and general condition. He said to no one in particular, “You don’t look too bad, a little filing will have you good as new.”
Hank continued, “It is just like your Christian life, every day it needs a little attention to keep it sharp.”
￼Pulp-wood= The wood that would be made into pulp used to make paper. Frequently Poplar Trees
Cord = A 4 ft by 4 ft by 8 ft stack of wood