Bear with me a bit as I share a father’s memory. When my two daughters were little we lived on a 27 acre place out in the western part of our county here in Virginia. At the time we were using a couple of woodstoves to help heat our house. The supply of wood was a combination of what I could cut and split on my own and truckloads that I bought from a nearby farmer. He sold a good dump truck load of wood, seasoned, split and all hardwood. Since he had to dump it in front of the house and I needed it near the back of the house I gave my two daughters the chore of moving one wheelbarrow load per day after school. They were to move it about 40 yards at the most around to the end of the house near the basement door. One afternoon a couple of days after a snow storm I looked out through the front window to check on what progress my youngest daughter, Wendy was making with her wood toting.
Wendy was always a very focused and persistent worker but she would insist on doing things her way. With the wood moving chore she had apparently decided that the wheelbarrow was too hard to use for someone her age and size. I can’t recall how old she was at the time but she wasn’t very tall and still in elementary school so she was probably right in her judgment. She had decided that the most effective way for her to move wood was by carrying one piece of wood under each arm and making several trips rather than one or two. Always one to find a way to maximize return for effort, she realized that with the hard packed snow on the ground she could move an additional piece of wood on the ground by nudging/kicking it across the snow with her foot. My vision from that night was of a little girl in her snow suit, looking a lot like a brightly colored Michelin Man with a stick of firewood under each arm trudging across the snow covered front yard and propelling a third piece in front of her with a forceful nudge of her snow booted foot.
People measure time in different ways. A calendar, a watch, a sundial, an hour glass or in my case by memories. Wendy called me this morning from Monterrey, California where she had been sent by her company to do a training class. She was full of stories, confident and sounded totally comfortable there 3,000 miles from her home in Northern Virginia. All during our 30 minute conversation I was remembering my little log kicker who was now jetting around the countryside for work, taking advantage of the chance to see the sights and experience the wonders of a new part of the world. It seemed like another lifetime back when she was kicking firewood through the snow. I can only hope that when I am gone my kids are as proud of me as I am of them.