The Stock Market is falling - 349 points yesterday in Toronto. Yesterday was also David’s twelfth birthday. To honour the day, I suggested to Carol that we plant that maple tree in the front yard she’s been asking for since we moved here. She says it has to be two trees – one on either side of the garden/weed bed – one for each of our two children.
It took me almost all day. I headed for the Nursery by the dump with my trailer in tow about 10:30am. It was noon before I’d picked out a couple of Autumn Flame Maples. The smaller ones were almost all gone. I got the last one and had to take a bigger one too. A tractor loaded them into my little trailer and I crept home with a long tail of bundled trees.
I got them delivered and off the trailer just in time to head to Bobcaygeon to do the Pinecrest Nursing Home service. That took three hours. Back home put on my overalls and rubber boots and started shoveling. The key to accomplishing this job was hiring a neighbour’s kid and backhoe to dig the holes. Without that backhoe I could have easily spent another whole day just digging those holes – with more than a few choice words at the many small and large stones in the gravel pit beneath our lawn.
The small tree I got wrestled into place without too much difficulty. I backfilled and Carol came out just in time to notice how high it seemed out of the ground. I’d been kind of resenting the fact that I had to do this alone. I had pictured a family event. Oh well. I told myself - Carol had to do most of the work birthing our two children so now it was my turn to plant their trees in the ground. Even so, her help with a few dozen shovel fulls made a difference. Mostly it was just encouraging to get a hand.
By the time I put the hose on that first tree, I was whipped. I would do ten shovels and have to rest. Do another ten and my whole body would try to tell me it was gonna have a heart attack. It was just trying to get out of the job. Another ten.
Alana called Carol back into the house – she’s leaving for a bus trip through Europe tomorrow - so I tackled the second tree alone. The root ball on this one must have weighed two hundred pounds. With all my strength I got it to stand up straight but when I went to drag it across the lawn I couldn’t budge it. It was maybe five or six feet from the hole. What to do?
I wasn’t stumped for long. I went and got the sturdy plastic toboggan I’d used to haul firewood last winter. It worked like a charm. Well – with all my strength I could now budge the root ball a foot at a time. I got it into the hole and it fell into place.
Carol joins me again and picks up a shovel. I really appreciate her help. We finish up by seven. Luckily David doesn’t want to go to the Lindsay Fair like we’ve been talking about. He looks as tired as I feel. The second week of school seems to be just as hard as the first. Or, maybe he finds receiving all that attention – all the happy birthdays – all the demands for polite responses – smiles in David’s case – pretty exhausting.
My body is calling for hot water. I clean out the tub and start the water running. Naked – I get called to the phone. I ask Carol to turn off the running water for me. It’s a funeral call. I write all the details down and drag my weary butt back to my – hey - Carol’s in my tub – enjoying a bubble bath.
So, I take up a position on the throne and we get to chat a bit. Alana has to come in and consult about some essential thing – what should she do about the fact that her suitcase is bigger than regulation (and there’s no possible way she could take a smaller bag)? David wonders what’s going on in the throne room and comes in and sits on the floor.
Some of our best family times it often turns out end up being in the bathroom. We can plan special dinners and outings but they can often be accompanied by the hurry and stress of making it happen. For happy times, intimate shared times, the bathroom’s the place.
The water’s still hot when it’s finally my turn. I get to stretch out in our big tub with the water jets on for at least two minutes before David arrives and puts a foot in. He pulls it out quick.
“Why not have a shower?” I suggest - selfishly hoping to stretch out and enjoy a bath to myself. But he’s learned that the first reaction is not always a lasting one and in another minute he puts that foot in and keeps it there resting on my foot.
He takes maybe five minutes before he’s fully in and I wash his hair while he puts soap bubbles on my beard making me old before my time. Santa Claus wishes him a happy birthday.
The Stock Market is falling. 349 points yesterday in Toronto. Giant American brokerage houses are collapsing. The global financial community is reeling on the ropes and waiting for the next series of blows. Fears of a global financial meltdown are in the air. But I’ve got two trees in the ground to honour the lives of my two growing children. Every muscle in my body has been tried and tested today. I am a rich man.
Wasn’t it Jeremiah who God told to go buy a chunk land? Jeremiah had also been listening to God’s warnings about how Israel was about to fall. Buying land, planting a tree, requires faith. Faith that no matter what – with our cooperation - God blessings of land and new generations will continue to flow.