The Rest of the Story
Clint was always interesting to watch and listen to, his mechanical ability was next to zero but his overall intellect was close to 100. I had the opportunity to see him in a high powered corporate arena and also on the farm, he really fit better in the corporate arena, but he certainly kept things lively on the farm. This story is no exception to the rule, you just have to laugh out loud at the experiences.
A devoted reader, and a self-proclaimed Funny Farm Fan, recently admonished me…”If I were you I would stay away from that Doug Harrell. When you see him coming you should run the other way!” And I replied, “Where were you ‘back in the day’ when you might have spared me the dangers of Harrell Hill Farms?” She, of course, just chuckled.
Again, I come before you this month to share another tale of terror. You know, even I am astonished by the sheer volume of perilous escapades which befell me during the spring and summer of 2010. You do realize, of course, that this is my 20th Funny Farm column…how is it possible that so much drama could occur in a 7 month stint on the farm? But it did and at least the nightmares are fewer now that I can share my stories with you.
A New Look
You may recall that when I arrived at Harrell Hill Farms I was a BIG CHUBBY city boy from Hendersonville, NC. At a svelte 299 lbs I was most comfortable dressed in a parachute; my wardrobe options were limited at best. (Having flashbacks, even as I type, of trudging my rotund self up and down the mountains dragging equipment, GIANT backpacks filled with fertilizer, etc…stumbling and rolling down multiple hills). It is a miracle that my heart didn’t explode early in my farming career.
Well it took only 2-3 months before I was transformed from Shamu to the lean-mean Farmer Clint you know today J. Now, a shadow of my former self, I began longing for some true farmer’s attire.
One summer’s day Doug dispatched me to Griffith’s General Store in Tipton Hill. (My flashback continues…it was less than 90 days since I’d purchased SIZE FIFTY jeans to engulf my generous girth. I have a vision of nearly needing a rope to cinch them since I could not find a large enough belt.) Anyway, I don’t recall the purpose for going there this day, but am certain it was to purchase some piece of farm paraphernalia which I would never recognize without a written note from Doug.
Anyway, as I browsed the millions of cool gizmos in this rural Mecca, I caught sight of my heart’s new desire…genuine overalls. I mean the bib kind, with the suspender thingies and pockets galore. I was in love.
Recall that upon arrival at the Harrell farmhouse a short while back I had no money…zero dollars…nada. But Doug recently shared some $$$ from an outside job he’d obtained for raking hay…my specialty as you may recall. I decided then, on the spot, to acquire my very first Farmer Clint bib-overallsJ. I must confess, although not with false-pride, I was looking good! Being a bit shy and not wanting to appear too dapper, I decided to keep the secret of my new acquisition from Doug until the next morning.
Well, as usual, morning (or I should say middle-of-the-night) came with the familiar bellowing from my friend at the foot of the staircase…”Let’s go, Pollard! We’re burning daylight!” Why does he do that L! I sprung to my feet, showered in 3 minutes, and quickly donned my new duds. I must say, I was looking good.
Doug was in the kitchen, making his patented buckwheat pancakes which I drown in homemade molasses, when I made my entrance. He welcomed me, as usual, to the table but averted looking in my direction for long. A little ‘Doug-smirk’ on his face, those eyes twinkling as they do, he said, “Nice clothes”. That was it…I think shock-and-awe struck him as I pranced about in my new persona.
Bees In My Britches?
Today was to be another ‘teaching moment’…Farmer Clint’s first use of a chainsaw. I was anxious, a bit terrified to tell the truth, but excited at the same time. We were going to blaze a trail up a mountainside to prepare for building a road later that summer. I mean, think about it, how much better could things be…beautiful, cool summer’s morn…my best friend and I side-by-side…I would learn a new skill with a new tool…and I was looking like a million bucks.
Doug is always very serious when he begins mentoring me about DANGEROUS implements – today was no exception. He warned me never to use a chainsaw unless someone was with me; I learned where to stand in relation to the tree being felled; he demonstrated how to cut little wedgies in a tree to make it fall where you want it; he talked about the importance of sharpening the blade; the need to check the oil each time you refuel the tool; blah, blah, blah! (Of course, I listen intently but make him do all that maintenance stuff since I’m scared of it!)
At last, in answer to prayer, Doug stopped talking/warning/chastising/teaching/preaching and walked away. I cranked that saw and felt the power of Paul Bunyan descend upon me…Farmer Clint the Lumberjack!
To tell the absolute truth, I was only permitted to chop down the itsy bitsy trees…well, if I am totally honest, the ones ‘assigned’ to me were more like twigs…but who cares! I was free and empowered…alone with a power saw. Dang it was cool!
I sawed, chopped and mutilated dozens of sprigs that morning…rejoicing as each one fell with a THUD (okay it was more like a ‘plink’). Lest you think I was on safe ground, know that I was challenged to NOT TUMBLE down the hill with chainsaw churning away!
After a brief while I began feeling a tingling sensation in my nether-regions and legs. Chalking it up to adrenaline, I imagined that I was just excited in my new role. When suddenly something stabbed me in a place one should not be stabbed…I felt scratching, itching, stinging sensations from my chiseled abs to my ankles…BEES, it must be BEES in my new overalls!
Not wishing to make a scene, and hoping to avoid another embarrassing event, I extinguished my chainsaw (or turned if off – for you novices) and bolted behind a big pine. I began disrobing, dropping those overalls to the ground and slapping at my various body parts. I must kill the swarm of critters that was aggressively devouring my flesh!
As my pants hit the ground I noted a ton of sawdust cascade from beneath my shirt and pant legs…my sweaty carcass causing much of the chainsaw dust to cling like blood-sucking leeches.
Quickly, I mused to myself…”Perhaps overalls are not the best attire when using a chainsaw?” You see, as the wood chips exit the saw they are propelled backwards and, as you might envision, those tiny slices of wood were entering the open bib of my overalls. So, my friends, my pants were filled with sawdust.
Well I emptied my Farmer Clint pants and resumed the task at hand – blessed that God spared me from another attack of killer bees, choosing instead to teach me another farm lesson…NEVER EVER WEAR OVERALLS WHEN USING A CHAINSAW!
Back At The Farmhouse
Showered, dressed and gathered around the dinner table, I thanked Doug for my “chainsaw badge” (I insisted that whenever I did something without getting killed he had to give me an achievement badge). He asked if I enjoyed it and I replied, “Yeah, but I learned to not wear my overalls when running a chainsaw…all the sawdust goes in the bib.”
There it was, that little glimmer in his Farmer Doug eyes, “Pollard, you are a hoot.”
I’m not sure, but I think perhaps he witnessed my unclad self frolicking in the woods trying to rid myself of the killer wood chips. Whatever the case, Doug never again chose to let me use that chainsaw again, hmmmm. And, FYI those overalls are too big now…think I’ll get a new pair for a date with my new bride Kay. Think she’ll be impressed?
At the end of the day I praised God that I had survived yet another near-death happening on the Funny FarmJ.
Humbled in the Hills,
Farmer Clint (aka THE Lumberjack)