May 25, 2020

The Days of Whine and Stupor

The view from under an apple tree

Janine Pineo Photo | The view from under an apple tree

• By John F. Chisholm •

I took vacation last week.  My wife scheduled it.

I objected.

Wendy insisted.

She won.  (She always does.)  Off we went.

I’ll be honest.  I dreaded it.  There’s so much to do here that I’m always behind.  The end of the growing season, freeze-up and winter inevitably finds me with too much undone.  I hated leaving knowing that I’d return to all that work but with a week’s less time to do it.

You doubt me?

Fall chores go on and on.  The lambs have to be gathered and shipped.  Sure, the fields are mowed but the pastures aren’t, at least not yet.  Okay, the front of the house is mostly scraped but a number of rotted clapboards still require replacement.  A large hornets’ nest is slowing that job.  It’s actually in the wall where spray can’t reach it.  (Yeah, you’re right.  I should have replaced those clapboards a lot sooner.)  When all that’s done the whole thing has to be repainted.  The trim-up isn’t completed.  The garden has to be put to bed.  The orchard’s all but ready for picking.  I’m not close to listing everything, but you get the idea.

How can anyone take vacation at times like these?

Then consider how I spend the time off.  I’m a migrating duck without flight feathers.  It’s a long walk south.  I plod along uncertain of what to do or how to act.  That’s never the problem here.  But on vacation, what the hell?  I end up staring out over the Atlantic for a week at a time.  The days pass with me in a stupor.

I carried on and on about all this to my wife.

She shook her head and kept quiet.

Off we went.

We returned yesterday afternoon.  One look at the place was all it took.  I began by mowing the lawn, even squeezing in the clipping, too.  Then I caught the sheep, graining and watering them as well.  Then I cleaned and organized my old Dodge pickup.  That might not sound like much but you didn’t see the cab beforehand.  In fact, by the time the afternoon was spent, it was amazing all that was accomplished, especially when you consider that I started at a quarter past two.

It was late when I came in to shower.  My wife looked at me.   “Glad to be back?” she asked, smiling.

I gave her a wry grin, thinking of everything that had gotten attention that day.  Then I kissed her and laughed.  “You were right.”

“About what?”

“Isn’t it amazing the way I have to do nothing for a week, just to get something done?”