“When you are older like us you will think of these times you spent together doing all these things.” My mom said as I spoke to my brother on the phone trying to give him hints as to what happened this morning. I was like
“What do you think dad said this morning?”
He knows the line having heard him say it countless of times when he visits.
“Can you help me with ‘this’?”
It has become a running joke between us as dad always has something for us to do. There is always a task that he needs some assistance with. Sometimes it’s the leaves in the gutter, sometimes it’s this or the other. Needless to say he finds something that has to be done and now would be a perfect time regardless of other pressing issues on one’s mind. I’ve found that just getting it done is the best strategy as it’s never as easy as it looks. Today was a great example.
I have come to visit the folks and pick up my snowboarding gear so that I could get in at least one day up on the slopes. I’m hoping to go up this Friday and looking at my schedule getting there yesterday after work and then returning back today with my gear in tow would be ideal. My dad was going to be in Surrey that night and they don’t mind giving me a ride back to a transit station.
I met my dad at the church that he likes to attend. He has a weekly meeting that he attends there. He has made some friends there and these meetings allow him some social time. He had to meet one of his friends so that he could get a piece of luggage that he lent to one of his friends. As we drove back we talked about my upcoming departure. We haven’t really had the opportunity to talk about what is going on with me. There has always been something else to discuss. They themselves are in the process of downsizing and unfortunately I wasn’t able to help them with this transition. Their house is still for sale and people are circling around kicking the wheels so to speak.
Mom was happy to see me too. When I got to their home we sat drinking tea and discussing the future as well as the past. All those “what if?” and “if only…” musings resurfaced again. The consequences of those decisions only now clear in hindsight. We have I think, an understanding that we made the best decisions that we could and that we are all in an alright state. It could be better but it could definitely be worse. Part of life is learning from your mistakes. As our conversation progressed we all realized the futility of wanting to affect the past. We just have the now and with both of them in the room they never fail at attempting to make the other feel good through wisecracks and jokes as well as loving gestures as if they were still kids smitten with each other. They have never lost that and it’s wonderful to see. They have set the bar high methinks.
They have an idea of my present state and my future goals. They know that I am flexible in some respects to the winds of change. They see the changes that are going on in Europe now and they wonder how it has affected the general feel of the continent. I wonder that too. With the things that have happened there recently and as recently as New Year’s Day. It has a disturbing feel to it and it is being played out in a weird way. It’s a thrust to the core of a divided vision splitting one continent into two opposing views on the subject of the kind of society it wants to be.
The task that my dad wanted help with was pruning one of the cherry trees in the backyard. It had grown these weird looking bulbs in its branches that did not have a healthy look to them. The tree itself is suffocated between two others and he wants to burn these branches as well as some other debris at some point later on. The first order of business is figuring out how to cut the stuff down. I found the chain saw in the garage and proceeded to start it up. After a struggle it finally roared into life. I didn’t like that the chain didn’t stop rotating even if I didn’t give it any gas. At least it was running and maybe since the job isn’t too big I could finish it off. I changed into some other clothes and together we started to cut one branch and as I cut into the branch I watched as a piece of sawdust flew through the air and deposited itself into my eye. Fuck. It wasn’t hurting but I stopped what I was doing. I should be wearing protective glasses so this stuff doesn’t happen. My dad saw what had happened and asked if I wanted a pair. He went to go grab them while I went inside and found the offensive sliver lodged in my lacrimal caruncle near the plica semilunaris. I used a q-tip to slowly remove the shard. Luckily it wasn’t that small or too big and the contrast allowed it to be easily located.
With safety glasses on and with renewed vigor we cut the next few branches down and struggled between each cut to start the saw again. After the third branch the damn thing wouldn’t start again and we contemplated what to do next. Eventually my dad suggested we use a hand saw. I inquired if we had one since I looked in the garage for one earlier since I thought it would be the best thing to use. I heard about this chainsaw my dad has. It sucks and I know why my brother wanted to get him one for Christmas. That saw would have only made a few cuts. At his age he shouldn’t be playing around with a saw. Listen to me acting like a parent.
He had a few saws hidden in one of his sheds. He showed them to me as I was searching for the other parts for the brush saw. I was going to change the blade and somehow cut the remaining four branches down. I was happy to see these saws. If I had these earlier I wouldn’t of have bothered with the chainsaw. The only problem is the saw getting caught within the branch as it squeezed together. As a team I cut and he pulled on a branch in order to prevent the squeeze from happening. We were done in no time as the last branch was tackled by climbing a bit onto the tree for a good cutting angle. We then dragged the branches to the back and enjoyed the activity. This type of work helps to keep the body strong.
We had a cup of coffee before my dad drove me out to the station in order for me to make the long trek back to the West End of the city. It’s a beautiful sunny day out there and as soon as I’m done this paragraph I’d like to enjoy some of it.