Skip to main content

My Number One Farm Hand

Our neighbor has a huge old mulberry tree that hangs partially over our backyard. We had part of it trimmed earlier this year because we noticed the base of the tree is starting to rot, and we were afraid of the potential damage a falling tree can cause. The location of the tree in relation to our electric service wire going to our house prevented the tree trimming company from getting everything off that tree that was over our property. 

Friday night probably shouldn't have been a surprise then, but it was. A huge limb broke off, doing minor damage to our garage and knocking out our power for a few hours. Once our power was restored, work to clean up the backyard began immediately. I borrowed my grandfather's old chainsaw from my Aunt and Uncle to take care of the pieces I couldn't get with the garden loppers.

Tonight, we dragged the pieces I had cut out to the curb so the city crew who takes care of yard waste has more trees to make wood chips. The Kid wanted to help, and being an eager assistant, went to work trying to copy me. 

I laughed because it reminded me of how I would follow Gumpy around when he would call me his Number One Farm Hand. That title got longer as time went on. It became Best Buddy and Number One Farm Hand; Best Buddy, Number One Farm Hand and General Manager of Outside Affairs; Best Buddy, Number One Farm Hand, General Manager and Vice President of Outside Affairs, East Region; and eventually Best Buddy, Number One Farm Hand, General Manager and Vice President of Outside Affairs. I didn't always care for the best buddy part, but the title was endearing and became emblematic of the bond we shared. 

I started calling The Kid my Number One Farm Hand last year, when I finally got over my self-imposed notion that it was a title meant for a boy. It clicked sometime last summer that Gumpy used it to show his appreciation of my gumption in following him around the farm. 

Obviously, we do not have a farm. Our house in the city has a yard small enough for me to be able to mow with an electric push mower in under 45 minutes. But The Kid shows a lot of gumption following me around trying to do big kid work with a little kid body, so she's earned the title. 

There was a lot of wood to move to the curb and it took the better part of an hour to finish the job, which was way too long for The Kid's attention span. But she gave it a good run for about half the time we were out there, which was much longer than I had expected. She doesn't care that she's still a little light for light work, she wanted to help and that's all I can ask for at this age. 

Watching her drag smaller tree limbs to the curb with a proud smile and a determined look brought back a flood of good memories, causing me to pause a minute and recognize that I do indeed have a Number One Farm Hand. 

Popular posts from this blog

Our family became whole because another family fell apart

A co-worker shared a powerful story from Huffington Post with me today. It was one adoptive mother's account of the days from meeting their birth mother to walking away from the hospital with their soon-to-be-adopted daughter in tow. I almost cried reading it because I can relate to the story in many ways, especially the feelings of uncertainty that are ever present until you see the amended birth certificate in the mail. 
"Bearing witness to her sorrow, I realize BabyMama is also experiencing three days of labor. As we text and grieve, we experience the contractions of the heart and body and mind together." -Kathleen Dennehy 
Our situation was different. The family in the story had to wait for three days in the hospital while the birth mother had to make the impossible decision to surrender her child for adoption. The Kid's foster mom had taken her home from the hospital and cared for her until her birth parent's legal rights to custody were terminated. We met h…

To a generous young trick-or-treater for his kindness

Our neighborhood is unbelievable on Halloween night. Starting about 6 p.m., our street is packed with trick-or-treaters. If you don't start stockpiling candy early, you could go broke trying to keep up with the crowd.

The Kid doesn't really like the trick-or-treating part, she loves to hand out the candy. She ventured out twice, once with me and once with Grandma, but returned because she loved being the helper kid who was making everyone enjoy their holiday.

One young man hesitated at our door after she stuffed a few treats into his bag. If I had to guess, he was about 10 or 11 years old himself. He started fumbling in his bag, pulled out a treat and said, "This is for her since she hasn't been out trick-or-treating for herself."

I think he was a little embarrassed by our effusive praise of his generosity. He didn't have to do that for our little Wonder Woman. She was having a great time and has a boatload of candy from her two tours of our block. But he wa…

A random conversation at the Peninsula Grill

There were four of us seated at the bar last night at the Peninsula Grill, a regular on the end to my left and a couple at the other end on my right. I purposefully picked the middle of the bar so I could watch the Tigers game while journaling in peace. Between finishing my soup and my whitefish arriving, I had managed to fill almost an entire page.  

I write letters to The Kid in the journal. Someday, I will probably give it to her. Many of my letters are simple remembrances of the funny things she said, accounts of the astute observations she's made or me reminding her future self of the giving things she did as a four year-old. Some of the content is about my journey to becoming her Papa, and that can be deeply personal. She's also getting to an age that blogging all of it is no longer appropriate, she deserves her privacy, so I decided several months ago to start an old-school journal to preserve my memories.  
After dinner, which was excellent, I continued to pour my hea…