Friday, December 14, 2007

Good Ol' Boys

Last summer they logged the 15 acres to the north of the church and parsonage. The forest that bordered us disappeared, almost over night.

For the last few days, they've been slash-burning the remnant. While I hadn't seen anybody up there, at night we were blessed by visions of massive piles of glowing embers sizzling in the winter rain.

Today, the next-door neighbor called and asked if I wanted to meet the guys doing the burning. I wandered over to her house and we walked up the hill together.

There I met Phil and his buddy. They've lived in the area their entire lives. Phil's family has been in the same cove for over 100 years. They're the kind of people you might describe as "earthy." The kind who smoke cigars and drive tractors and say "hell," only to realize they're talking to the preacher, so they wince and say "sorry - heck!" They're the kind who tell you about the time the Burley hit a sand bar and overturned by the Lakebay dock, way back in the 1930s. They're the kind who remember grandpa gettin' his leg busted up when his horse team was startled by a Model T. They talk about "the old Ulsh place" and they actually remember the people who lived there. They remember Lakebay before "The Highway" went in. They know stories about the anarchists in Home. And they'e the kind who don't mind pulling up a stump and telling you all about it. The kind who don't put on airs, who sit in old pickups and watch the fire burn out while cussing and smoking and drinking and laughing.

And I thought, This is the coolest part about my job, meeting people like Phil Johnson, who even now is up on the hill dumping more wood on the fire.

Oh, and Phil told me he'd move some of the choicer pieces of lumber over the bushes into my yard, to make sure I'd have plenty of firewood. "Not a problem," said Phil.

Life in the country can be pretty amazing, if you just decide to get out of your office for a bit.

1 comment:

Lori said...

I know Phil. He and his brother, Dave, I think it was, took down some trees for us when I lived in Longbranch many years ago. Your description fit him to a tee.