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Location: Middle of Nowhere, Northern Ontario, Canada

Saturday, September 8

Firewood & Rhubarb

It's that time of year again when we have to fill the woodshed before winter arrives. This year we had trouble finding wood. Our regular supplier didn't have time to cut any for us so we had to go with a guy we bought from one other year when none was available from our regular guy.

The backup wood man is 78 years old. His yard is full of neatly stacked cords of nice, clean, dry firewood. Up until just last year he would cut, split, pile and deliver it all by himself. This year he hired a couple teenagers to help him because, as he said, he's not as young as he used to be. He costs more than our regular guy but you definately get quality for the price. A couple weeks ago Dave ordered 10 cord and was told it would be $70 per cord and we had to pick it up ourselves. He also said he could deliver it for a little bit more. We were going to pick it up ourselves but our truck isn't running well and it's drinking gas like Bravie drinks tainted milk so I decided we should check with the wood man to see how much it would be for delivery.

We stopped in to see him on Tuesday after work. I sat in the car while Dave went and talked to him. I had a feeling it was going to take a while knowing how old men like to talk but I had my book and it was a nice day so I wasn't in a hurry. Dave and the woodman walked around the wood and chatted and finally ended up back at the car. He would deliver it three cords at at time for $15 per load. We decided to change our order to 9 cords so it would end up costing us $630 for the wood and $45 for delivery. That was perfect. It would cost us at least that much in gas to pick it up ourselves to say nothing of the time and labour. Wood man said he'd deliver the first load on Wednesday morning. We told him we'd drop off a check when it was all delivered. He is a very sweet old man and we both drove away with smiles on our faces after talking to him.

By Thursday night there were two loads of wood dumped in the woodshed and as we drove by his house on Friday morning we noticed that his truck was loaded and ready to go with what we thought was our final load. Friday after work we stopped again to drop off the check. When we got there Dave went looking for him, check in hand. Wood man's wife said he was out back picking rhubarb so Dave went to find him. I started reading knowing it may be a while.

When the two of them came back the wood man asked me if I wanted some rhubarb. While I like rhubarb I had no idea what to do with it so I politely declined his offer. We started talking gardens and soon I was out of the car inspecting his tomato plants and his wife's flowers. The neighbor's little dog came over and we told him that we had a little dog at the cottage waiting for us and that we should get going because she'd been there all day and was probably crossing her little legs. I mentioned that I'd seen the neighbor's dog earlier in the week when we were there and wood man asked if we'd been here when he wasn't home. Dave and I kinda looked at each other and reminded him that we'd been here on Tuesday to ask him about delivering our wood. Wood man looked confused and asked if he'd taken us any wood yet. Again, Dave and I glanced at each other and then I quickly said that yes, he'd already delivered two loads and we just needed one more.

On Thursday night we found a handwritten invoice for 6 cords of wood at $80 per cord. That confused us but we figured we'd work it out when we paid him. Now we were really confused but I don't think we were the only ones. I didn't have a pen so I asked if I could borrow one. He told me to go ahead in the house and his wife would find one for me. I headed inside and his wife greeted me at the door and said that she wished I'd been there a few minutes earlier to see the young girl singing opera on Oprah. I wrote out the check for $675 and told her that he'd already delivered two loads and we just needed one more. I figured if I told her too they might be able to remember between the two of them.

His wife and I talked inside while Dave sat out on the back porch with him and chatted. They're such a sweet couple and they seemed so happy to have company so I said a silent apology to Holly waiting to get outside for a pee and spent a little more time visiting. She told me how they'd only been married for 4 years. Wood man was her third husband. She said that she'd married three very wonderful men and had a daughter that was a doctor. When her friends arranged a meeting between her and wood man she said the first impression she had of him was that he was a man who was comfortable in his own skin. I said that that was a very good thing and agreed that she was a very lucky lady to have been blessed with three good men in her life.

She's 79, a year older than him and she mentioned that her mother lived to 92 and her dad to 103. Both wood man and his wife seemed to be pretty healthy other than maybe a little memory slippage. After about 45 minutes we again said that we had best be going and they insisted that I take some rhubarb. She even told me exactly how to stew it for a tasty treat. I left with a bag of rhubarb and a huge smile on my face.

Dave and I were both giggling as we drove away. They were such a cute couple. So friendly, so nice, so sweet. We're not sure if he'll remember to bring us another load without another reminder but if we have to make another visit it wouldn't be terrible. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy to spend time with them. I remember when I was in my 20s and 30s I wasn't comfortable around seniors. I didn't know how to talk to them. I was always envious of my Mom and how good she was with them. That's changed now. I really enjoy spending time with older folks and love hearing their stories. If I was to win a lottery I'd love to spend time visiting with seniors. It gives me a good feeling and I know they love the company. I'm not sure who benefits more.

Tonight I stewed half the rhubarb and made a pie out of the other half. I just finished snacking on some of the stewed rhubarb with ice cream. Mmmmm!!! I think that from now on, whenever I think of rhubarb I will think of Mr and Mrs wood man.


Blogger Puffy said...

What a sweet story! I love to hear about the lives of people whose lives are so different from my own.

Sun. Sep. 09, 03:22:00 a.m. EDT  
Blogger Bravie said...

*giggle* How cute is that? only married four years and they are in their late 70's. Do we get to meet them? *grin*
I'm very comfortable talking to old folks, so I shouldn't ahve any problem with you. *snort*

Sun. Sep. 09, 10:40:00 a.m. EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is such a cute story. At the risk of yet another teasing, I will admit that, while I have heard of rhubarb, I've never had any.

Sun. Sep. 09, 04:39:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Swami said...

The old folks sound like real sweethearts - I hope they don't get taken advantage of because they are forgetful of their business. That would be sad.

But I am glad that you will know how to talk to me when I finally meet you!

*Can't believe Boo has never eaten rhubarb!* My mom used to make stewed rhubarb and rhubard pie too. When I was a kid we would pick a small & tender stalk off the rhubarb plant, peel off the thin skin and eat it raw! A bit intense but very tasty. Mom always said "But don't eat the leaves! The leaves are poisonous!!" So I only ever took one bite of leaf - which was bitter and yucky so I spit it out.

Mon. Sep. 10, 10:50:00 a.m. EDT  
Blogger Breezy said...

Boo needs to get out more.

Awwwwwww nice couple.

I think Bravie should be punished for calling you old.

Mon. Sep. 10, 11:03:00 a.m. EDT  
Blogger kim (weltek) said...

Aw, thanks for the detailed story. You really brought the visit to life. I hope you get your other load of wood. And *giggle* at the Bravie comment.

I also used to be very uncomfortable talking to old people. Now, I adore it, thanks to my job.

Mon. Sep. 10, 12:50:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Bravie said...

Confession: I have never had rhubarb either.

Mon. Sep. 10, 01:20:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger MTW said...

That *IS* a great story. 78 isn't really all that old. It seems sad that he's losing his memory so early.

Who are YOU again???

Mon. Sep. 10, 07:45:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Bravie said...

I think you should ignore Breezy. For at least the next three weeks.

Tue. Sep. 11, 02:16:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger kim (weltek) said...

Rhubarb is best mixed with strawberries. mmmmmmmm.

Wed. Sep. 12, 03:46:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger MM said...

I'm another who hasn't had rhubarb.
Thanks for writing this story out, Lights. It is so sweet!


Thu. Sep. 13, 01:02:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Puffy said...

*chimes in* I haven't had rhubarb either but I know that Marie Callender's sells a Rhubarb pie.

Tue. Sep. 18, 12:33:00 a.m. EDT  
Blogger lights said...

I can't believe that so many of you have never had rhubarb!

Carey, you will be punished. *grin*

Tue. Sep. 18, 06:58:00 p.m. EDT  
Blogger Bravie said...

punished=spanked, right? *crosses fingers*

Thu. Sep. 20, 08:26:00 a.m. EDT  

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