I just spent three days of the most enjoyable visit I can remember with three of my siblings and the spouses of two of them. The pleasure of the visit was not rooted in nostalgia nor was it focused on entertainment or tourism. Not unless several hours of menial labor and a day of significant exercise is your idea of tourism and entertainment.
Last Thursday, Patsy flew in from Abilene, Texas, and I flew in from Kansas City via Chicago. Our oldest sister, Freeda, met us at the Charlotte airport. We headed directly for Freeda and Olian’s mountain home at the western edge of Wilkes County on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Well, “directly” in this case included a quick stop at Dick’s Sporting Goods so I could buy an extra pair of toe socks. Toe socks are crucial if your goal is to run a few miles with wet feet without getting blisters. More about that later…
We spent Thursday evening enjoying the views, walking around the cabin, talking and eating. At one point, I went out to the pasture up the hill and just south of the cabin. I met and talked with Michelle about the rescue horses she and her friends tend. There is something ethereal about equines in a mountain pasture, particularly those that are inclined to tolerate human attention. These did.
Late that night, Paul and Debee made it in from Ohio, having made a late start and then encountering an accident scene that provided further delay. After a hearty breakfast the next morning that included hot muffins, oatmeal and a variety of enticing toppings, Paul and I took a walk in Two Acres Wood. Happily, we found a few dead trees and amused ourselves by finding out experientially which ones we could push over. There is a primal satisfaction in rocking an old rotting tree one way and another and then tilting it all the way over until it crashes against the ground.
We continued our entertainment for the next few hours by cutting down branches using Freeda’s surprisingly effective electric chain saw. We trimmed away some of the limbs blocking their view of the mountains and took down several dead ones that an ice storm a few years ago left dangling in the trees. While I wielded the chainsaw, Paul used a rope to keep the severed branches from swinging down and knocking the ladder out from under me.
Later, while Paul and Olian worked on the riding mower, I toted limbs and chunks down into the woods and piled them up. At the end of the day, there was a clearer view from the back deck, the big stack of old shingles was loaded into the back of Olian’s truck and his Scott’s riding lawn mower was working again.
There is pleasure in the work and satisfaction in the results when men who are brothers in the flesh and in the Spirit focus their efforts toward a common goal.