You can keep all your base-jumping, mountain-climbing, bear-wrestling, gasoline-gargling, whitewater-rapid-rafting, big-city-traffic-dodging, rocketship-flying, strange food-eating, death-defying thrills. You can have ‘em. When I want to tempt fate and walk hand-in-hand with the grim reaper while singing, “Kumbaya,” I turn to the only rush that works for me: firing up the pole saw and trimming some trees.
Not just any trees — the low-lying fruit-kind that hover close to the ground and beg to be snipped. I’m talking big trees. Tall trees. Trees who don’t want to be trimmed and stretch high on tippy-toes into the clouds when they see you coming. Trees that refuse to be trimmed, fighting you every step of the way as they claw and scratch your hands, your arms, your face. They’re tough trees who won’t go down without a fight — an eye for a limb is the motto here.
Just thinking about it, I feel the adrenalin pumping and the blood bubbling. (Lucky for me the blood stopped bubbling after applying direct pressure with a handful of fallen leaves.)
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There’s only one thing I hate about road trips. One thing — breakfast.
Everything else I can handle. Even enjoy. Endless miles. Rest stops. Bad coffee. Seeing new parts of the country. Meeting new people. That guy at the rest stop who mumbles, “Wanna’ see what I got here in my pocket?”
We went out to Missouri to collect my master’s diploma. Over to Louisville to visit with family. Down to the Smokies to plunk river stones the size of European cars into a stream. We covered more than 2,000 miles, burned through nine tanks of gas, and used a lifetime supply of wet wipes. My stomach is still trying to repair the damage from a cup of tar masquerading as coffee.
But it was an amazing trip, and a thrill for my 3-year-old daughter who had never seen mountains before or spent so much time motoring from one place to the next. And I would do it again tomorrow — hop right back in the car and go … if not for those dang breakfasts. Continue Reading »
I’ve never been hit in the head with a concrete block. Not before I answered the phone the other night. It was my mother and she cut to the chase: “Brian? I sold my house. I need to be out in June. I’m coming up this weekend to see about buying or renting a place. We’re going hunting Saturday. Be Ready!”
The block hit me flat side down, clean in the forehead.
I sat on the floor watching stars orbit my head and considered calling 911. What would I say? “Yeah, hi, I just got a phone call from my mother about her moving up to St. Augustine. It laid me clean out on the floor and I think I have a concussion. Could you send someone over with a couple Harvey Walbangers … stat?”
What had just happened? Continue Reading »
It swept in like a summer thunderstorm — fast, ferocious and relentless — knocking me on my back. Some 24-hour bug — I swear it wasn’t swine flu — that has been going around. Left me feeling achy, nauseous, grumpy and with a pounding head like a woodpecker was trying to make a home in there.
And then it was gone, as suddenly as it arrived. Strange. But it had sure taken its toll. I normally weather things pretty well. I don’t like to slow down, no matter what the circumstances. My leg fell off? Hmmm. Well, I’ll worry about that later.
I was sick enough that I didn’t go into work the next day. It felt like a mean hangover. Like one of those evenings when you say to yourself, “maybe tequila shooters wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”
As I went about my “sick day,” tired and bored, longing to go do something … anything … I wondered why there was always such an appeal to being sick as a kid. Continue Reading »