Archive

Monthly Archives: September 2021

The 2020 election has been over and done with for months. However, there are still people that are unwilling to let it go. And I can’t understand them. It’s like debating the outcome of the Super Bowl XII and thinking it matters. Both the game and the election are now part of history. There is no going back, no changing the results, and continuing to brood over it can’t be healthy. (PS: I have no idea who won Super Bowl XII because it’s over and still doesn’t matter.)

Our stop in upstate New York was marred by an event that is really a poster-child for this discussion. 

We were in Skaneateles, NY, for lunch with Sheri’s cousins. It’s a lovely little lake town with the shores lined with rich people’s houses. I heard that one of the guys from Queer Eye For The Straight Guy has a home there and that Justin Bieber even got married nearby. I guess people were excited about it! Weird…

While walking around the little downtown area, we saw a die-hard Trump supporter doing a one-man parade. He was waving a flag all decked out in Trump gear. He may not have helped Trump’s political career at all, but he was undoubtedly bankrolling him. This guy must have spent a fortune on all that gear. The joker was at least wearing a mask, which was encouraging, except that he had the front of it completely cut out.

But the most comical part of this scene was that he was waving an ‘Indiana For Trump’ flag. Let me remind you  – We’re in NEW YORK!!

This area of New York is a mishmash of politics. The rural areas lean Republican while the cities are Democratic, reflecting most of the country. The cousins we were meeting were Trump supporters. But even they were embarrassed by this guy’s antics. I noticed that most of the people around us were shaking their heads and laughing.

“Idiot!! This is not Indiana! You’re embarrassing yourself!”

It was rather refreshing to see this kind of response to the extremists in their own party. We need more of this. Any extreme or crazy or blatantly ignorant talk from either party should be met with derision and mocking, and then silence. For the last ten years, the political conversation has been controlled by the loudest and craziest voices in the room. We need to remind ourselves that they do not represent the majority of either party and should simply be ignored when they get too loud.

As it turns out, most of our friends and relatives are Republicans. I don’t understand why we seem to attract them. However, none of them are extreme like Wrong-state-flag guy. On occasion, we will discuss politics, but it doesn’t come up for the most part. Yet, when it does, I find that we agree on more than we disagree.

The relationship we have with our Republican friends is an example of what we need in politics. We need to agree to disagree and find what we can agree on, rather than trying to shove our own ideology down each other’s throats. Neither party is perfect or has a monopoly on good ideas. Nor does either party want to destroy America or even represent ‘real’ America.

This country is not its political parties, and we need to realize that. We need to move beyond our past and work together for the future. Rehashing, debating, or pouting about an election isn’t going to accomplish anything for anybody. America as a nation is tired of the bickering and name-calling. We need a leader who can walk the extremely thin line between the parties to bring us together. And we as Americans must be willing to allow that to happen.

My wife seems to have a thing for chainsaws. She’s never run one, but I used one regularly in my youth. I grew up with a wood stove to heat the house, and a chainsaw was a normal thing for me. But I’ve never seen the need to have one since. Yet, it somehow became a hot topic once we began our search for a house.

The new house has a large yard with lots of trees, which is one reason we purchased it. Our basic requirements were simple: an old house with a big yard and trees. We love trees and shade and squirrels. The house is a hundred years old, and several of the trees may be that old or more.

Shortly after moving in, I noticed that the large locust tree next to the house was beginning to show its age and would need to be removed within the next five years. I was hoping to get a little time before I really needed to address it. However, over the summer, we had a few severe storms that knocked off several large limbs. Luckily there was no damage to the house, though it was a close call. The tree is nearly four feet wide at the base and probably 60 feet tall. For most of a hundred years, it has provided the house with shade, and I hate to see it go. But now, most of the top limbs are missing or damaged and dying.

The Old Locust

Which has brought the topic of a chainsaw back to the fore. Yes, we have trees now, but I had no intention of trimming them myself. Even though we have a fireplace, I had every intention of buying pre-cut wood for it. We live in St Louis, in the city; I saw no need for a chainsaw.

Shortly after moving in, my stepson brought me a $2 chainsaw he’d purchased at a garage sale. He is not mechanically inclined but figured I could get it running. He was right. I am very familiar with chainsaws and their repair. For $10, I was able to get the little junker running, just in time to cut up a couple limbs that fell next to the house. It took all of fifteen minutes to cut and clean up.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we got hit by another doozy of a storm. It threw down one of the trees in the empty yard behind us. The falling tree tore out several of my honeysuckle bushes and damaged some other trees. The most significant limb was probably 20 inches thick. That is a good-sized tree.

I pulled out my repaired and newly sharpened chainsaw and set out to get the job done. However, three cuts into the project, the saw stopped. I never got running again. I wore myself out pull-starting the POS. As you can imagine, I was pissed by this time.

Behind me I could  hear my wife quietly saying: “Just go buy a chainsaw… Just go buy a chainsaw…”

As you can probably guess: I bought a Damn Chainsaw!

Rather than getting the $140 Craftsman model (I don’t trust Craftsman anymore), I stepped it up to the $300 Husqvarna model. I am partial to the Husqvarna due to past experience and expect this to be my LAST chainsaw. I fought this purchase for long enough that I only wanted to do it once. It’s a nice saw, and I won’t be using it much. Therefore, there is no reason it shouldn’t last the life of its owner.

So, now I have a chainsaw. I expect the neighbors to soon come knocking.

“I hear you’ve got a chainsaw…”

Having a chainsaw is a lot like having a pickup truck; all your friends without one will want to borrow it. (I also don’t have a pickup… yet.)