The Day I Met David – Wood Delivery Day.

Just because there are no photographs to corroborate this story, does not mean it didn’t happen. 

Wood stacking day/night from a couple of years ago.

Every year, at about this time, I have my winter fireplace wood delivered.  It’s a thing. In fact, it’s exactly the same amount of a thing as delivering a baby. I say that with all the confidence of someone who has watched many television shows which feature babies being born. It invariably takes the length of time in between two commercial breaks.

Stacking 7 cords of wood on the other hand takes much longer and nobody stops to ask if you’d like an epidural. Which I would said yes to because that’s the logical answer to whenever anyone asks you if you’d like an epidural. Yes, please, I’d like two.

To give you an idea of how much 7 cords of wood is, it’s a very large pile. Large enough that you don’t need to exaggerate its size. Also it doesn’t change. You can pull wood out of it and stack it for hours on end and it will not get one square foot smaller. 

I began my great wood adventure this year on a crisp Saturday morning. I worked all day and got 4 cords of wood moved from the road and driveway and into my backyard where I stacked it.  When it was done, I came inside, had my dinner, went to bed and woke up to start doing it again.

Sunday morning meant another 3 cords of wood were being delivered because the theme of 2020 as we all know is Groundhog Day. I put my head down, hood up and started chipping away at the pile. 

I was about an hour into my work when along came David.

Of course, at the time I didn’t know his name was David, he was just a man motoring down the sidewalk towards me. Usually when I’m working like this I don’t want to stop and talk to anyone. I just want to keep working so I can go inside drink hot chocolate and not vacuum.

But this day I stopped to talk because the man heading towards me didn’t go around me, didn’t cross the street and didn’t look like he was going to be deterred.  He stopped right in front of me and my wheelbarrow and said That’s a good amount of wood you have there! I just chopped and stacked 3 cords myself.

I told him I was doing 3 cords today and did 4 yesterday. This made his face light up and the man said You’re my kindda woman! Who do you get your wood from? What do you pay for it? Have you seen those wood stacking kits you use with 2x4s? I got a bunch of those this year and they were worth every cent. Do you ever have to split the wood or do you just throw it in full sized like that?

I think I forgot to mention that during this it was cold, raining, I was completely soaked, my hands were frozen, I was pushing a wheelbarrow full of wood and was also on the phone with my mother.

But I kept talking to him because it seemed like he felt like talking and much to my surprise I was liking talking to him. (There’s another man who walks around the neighbourhood who wouldn’t know anything about wood and very probably would be the type who converted his wood fireplace into a spin out cocktail bar that opened when you pushed a button.)  At the very least this other man would definitely hire someone to stack his wood.  I wouldn’t have liked talking to him.

We discussed the wood and the benefits of a good splitting axe. We also talked about how the cost of wood is worth it because it’s a form of entertainment in the winter and stacking wood can actually be very cathartic. This is when I found out his name was David. We were speaking long enough that it seemed logical that I ask his name and where he lived.

I’m David and I live in the board and batten house a couple of blocks over, I walk every day for 35 minutes and when I go home from here I’m going to split some wood, light the fire and watch some football. I had a stroke last year and I used to walk an hour a day but I lost too much weight exercising so much so now I’m trying to put some back on because my pants are too loose.

I commented that I was sorry about his stroke and asked how old he was. I’m 92 said David.

I blinked. A few times. Then I said way too loud “YOU’RE 92??”  At this point I was somehow reminded that I still had my phone to my ear and I pointed to the phone in my hand and said Sorry, I’m just on the phone with my mother.  

This interested David quite a bit. How old is your mother? What’s her name? Would she like to come for a visit? I used to have a lady friend and we travelled around Europe for 12 years, but then she moved to Toronto. I like visitors. I’m just around the corner. Ask her. Does she want to come? 

I immediately formulated a plan to move my mother to Toronto, if it turned out to be necessary.

I could hear my mother on the other end of the phone laughing and giggling.

Ohforcrissakes.

Being the only adult in the room apparently I gently reminded David that he couldn’t visit with my mother whom he didn’t know, had never seen and hadn’t even heard of until 3.5 seconds ago – because of Coronavirus.

I’LL WEAR A MASK.

Yup. That was a logical response.  A back and forth went on for a bit and I convinced him, I didn’t think my mother was going to be coming to visit him that day so he should probably just split his wood and watch football. Not to be deterred he kept up his line of questioning and while pointing at the phone asked Is she slim?

As he smiled and started off on his way back home I watched him go and laughed. My mother was on the phone laughing too. All of us thought the entire episode it was just hilarious.

The whole thing put me in a good mood and helped me barrel through the rest of the day moving wood and stacking it. Around 4 o’clock I finished up and went inside to make my hot chocolate and not vacuum, wondering if I’d ever see David again.

That question was answered the next morning when David knocked on my door.

He wanted to let me know that if I had any wood that was too big to split on my own, to set it aside and he would do it for me. 92 year old David offered me an epidural.

I didn’t accept his help. I thanked him but said it was O.K., I didn’t need help. I said it nicely. And I’ve regretted it since.

So I’m going to keep an eye out for David and set aside some logs.

Because one of the best gifts you can give someone this holiday season is letting them know they’re needed.


What I did the past week.

As you know, I stacked wood but I did a few other things too.

In case you were wondering, these are the log stacking brackets that David bought this year.

Have a good weekend and thanks for reading my blog. I need you. 


 

 

 

 

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The Day I Met David - Wood Delivery Day.

75 Comments

  1. Allison says:

    What a heart warming story! I love what you took away from that- everyone wants to feel needed. Such a great thought.

  2. m'liss says:

    92 & still asking”Is she’s slim?” Sad.
    I have a few questions for Dave.

  3. Karen says:

    This is my first comment in years of reading your posts! What a great story- David is a love. And the wood stacking is one of the many impressive things you do!

    • Karen says:

      Karen! You’re here, lol! I still haven’t seen David again, but I’m thinking I’d LOVE it if he would chop me a whack of kindling. I really could use help with that. :) ~ karen!

  4. Angela Delveaux says:

    I LOVED this post–it’s my very favorite one that you’ve ever written! Such a range of emotions: the mental and physical (epidural!) pain of stacking that much wood….meeting a friendly neighbor (he sounds like a keeper!)…..having your mother on the phone….in the rain….
    He’s 92??? And flirting with your mom???

    Really, though….setting aside the logs for him to feel helpful was my biggest takeaway. I hope he shows up again. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Heather says:

    David sounds like he’d be a lovely addition to any family. What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Agnes says:

    Yo- don’t need photo evidence, your words are enough. Who cuuld make up a story like that! I agree you have to find a safe way to introduce David and your mother! My dad lived to be 95, and he taught me to split wood. He also seemed indestructible and was active right up to his final stroke. They just don’t make many people like that these days, but, you may be one! I am certain stacking wood and gardening help. Keep it up!

  7. Linda says:

    Beautiful Karen, I wonder if David knows how many lives he’s touched in a good way. I wonder the same about you.

  8. Kristina says:

    I love this so much. We just finished walnut harvest, and it was wonderful watching my 83 year old dad light up. He doesn’t do much of the labor around here anymore, but has a great big brain and is a genius for equipment problems. One day about halfway through the 5 week (or was it a million week?) season, Mom confided in me that he’d been so depressed, not being able to do the volunteer work that normally keeps him busy, and he seemed so glad to be *needed* during the season. So now I am looking for projects for him to do for me, and finding him rather choosy. Haha. So far, everything I’ve suggested, he’s said he had faith I could do myself.

  9. Jay (senora) says:

    I so enjoy your stories–particularly your witty telling of them. I had a “David” for thirty years, but sadly I lost him to an aneurism. I used to get annoyed that he would hover, but now I’d give anything to listen to his stories and hear him giggle. So, cudos to you for leaving out a few logs for this kind soul. And wo knows….Mom just might need some wood chopped!

  10. Marianne says:

    I love you Karen! And I love David and your mom too. As always thank you for being you.

  11. Christina Contri says:

    And we need you, Karen!

  12. Carol says:

    Hey Karen, like they said, what a great story! We need all the heart-warming we can get these days. We need, also, to know that we can possibly truck into our 90s if we continue to move and labor. Finally, helping others is one of the best therapies in the world and saying yes to someone’s offer of help can be a kindness too. Of course, be careful. Thank you for your posts. I look forward to them.

  13. Erin Prohaska says:

    Love this post! ❤️

  14. nan says:

    Delightful story. Thanks.

  15. Nancy Ann Page says:

    —Never mind about David – is that ivy growing on your roof?? It’s growing all over the exterior of my house! At first, I thought it was cute in an English cottagey kind of way, boy that was stupid, I live in Florida -(not a native – me- not the crazy ivy). It has exloded and now my house looks like one of those little Hobbit houses totally covered in ivy and I’ve lost complete control…well, I never had any control. Actually, I could hire David, there aren’t any Davids around here…alas…would you have any suggestions???

  16. Vikki says:

    Our neighborhood David is Gus. What I admire the most about Gus is that he has lived 92 years (and not all of them good ones!) and is still a cheerful, upbeat man. He is a Gift! He is my Hero.

  17. Petra says:

    Awww. Such a delight to meet real people like David. Enthusiastic about life at 92. Nice to be reminded that life is good and beautiful even if it’s hard work sometimes. Yeah, and being needed is what keeps us together. Thanks for sharing this.

  18. Heidi says:

    Loved the story about the wood, David, & your mom❣️

  19. Shellie says:

    How sweet. You almost had me in tears Karen. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Christine Hilton says:

    One of your best! Thanks.

  21. whitequeen96 says:

    What a lovely man! And not only are you lucky to have met him, he is truly lucky to have met you! Keeping an eye out for him and letting him know he’s needed; you’re a good woman, Karen!

    You get a crown of stars for this one!

  22. Kristen McGinnis says:

    I love this post! I haven’t read your stuff in a while. You’ve captured my heart again!

  23. Melody Wright says:

    Awww. Such a sweet story. I would have gladly helped you stack wood with NO epidural just to meet David. I’m 66 years old, retired from the USPS, live in Florida and am slim. Hook me up! LOL

  24. Virginia says:

    Oh what a very lovely wood-stacking story. I had a neighbor who would have liked to offer similar help, but he didn’t get that far because he was drunk, and allowed himself to be escorted firmly from the premises. But I mostly want to say that I miss cutting, hauling, splitting, smelling and stacking wood SO MUCH! Not all by myself, all of those things, however, but with the help of neighbors, not drunk ones.

  25. Jody says:

    David sounds lovely and just like my 90 yo father who still takes care of his big garden and cleans his own eaves. He got to 90 out of sheer stubbornness. He probably knows David and has coffee with him at TH.

  26. JMC says:

    Aww sweets thanks for the lovely story and wee cry. ❤️❤️🌻

  27. Sheila Turchyn says:

    Hi Karen,
    Everyone needs a David now and then and I’m glad to hear your lovely David story. That made my day! Thank you.
    Also: kale. Mine is on steroids and I don’t know wth to do with it all . Any thoughts?? I hate to toss it but don’t think it keeps all
    Winter!!
    Also, thx for the holiday planner. I’m on it, although a little late.
    Keep up the good work!
    Sheila

    • Karen says:

      HI Sheila! Just leave the kale in your garden. It’ll do fine and depending on the variety will last as long as january or february. It won’t grow but it’ll stay alive. If you really want to keep it in good shape, put something around it to block the wind. Wind is more stressful and damaging to it than cold. ~ karen!

  28. Marilyn says:

    David sounds like my kinda guy …good call to look out for him . Everyone needs to be needed.

  29. Laura Bee says:

    Oh my heart. You’re so right. And hoe lucky to have met David. My 92 year old neighbour and her son moved this summer as the house was getting to be too much for them to manage. I miss them so much. Maybe it’s because my grandparents have all passed but in the last few years I find myself seeking the stories and words of advice from that generation more than ever.

  30. Danni says:

    Reminds me of my husbands uncle Flash. He would visit me most every morning at my storefront on Main Street and have coffee with a bit of brandy to keep the blood flowing. He was a genuinely great guy and funny as all hell. I miss that man a lot. Very grateful he thought enough of me to add me to his daily wanderings.
    You add that gem to your quaran-team and get your mom over. A bit of brandy spiked hot chocolate on the porch on a cold day would be the thing!

  31. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    Tears, just tears! Thank you.

  32. Irma Villagomez-Miranda says:

    Karen, I loved your wood piling story. Everyone should meet a Mr. David.

  33. MaryJo says:

    Thanks for the sweet story, Karen. David sounds like a nice person to know.

  34. Rocky says:

    Thank you for sharing your story about meeting David. What touching story.

  35. Alexandra J Jacobs says:

    I loved this story. I just moved into a more rural area and called around for wood until I got someone like David who honestly said: “left it a little late didn’t you?” and then offered to drop off a trial of some greenish wood that “seemed to be burning OK for most people” to try and help me out. Let us know when David and your mother finally meet.

  36. Lynn Rickert says:

    Thank you. I so often laugh outloud while reading your blog. I also learn a lot.

  37. Sanjoy Das says:

    There are people like david everywhere, like it says in a song somewhere, every person is an open door to another world. Whats more important, therefore, is the ability to walk through those doors, look around, take a couple of selfies, love and respect them. You have that ability Karen.

  38. Emie says:

    I am so elated to be reading such a sweet story. I think it’s just what I needed to lift my spirits. You are so right about giving the gift to someone of allowing them to feel needed. What scares me? Feeling redundant. My mom who is 93 thinks being independent means doing everything yourself when actually it means knowing when to ask for help and accepting that said help. A quote I’ve used with my mom…. “Allowing Others To Help Us Is Giving Them The Gift Of Giving”. It’s so cute that Betty was giggling on the phone… what I’d give for my mom to laugh or giggle. I haven’t heard that from her in many years. Thank you for sharing.

  39. Jenny W says:

    Damn Lady!! That made me cry at 6am!!
    I love your stories and now I I think I have a crush on a 92 year old Gentleman.
    Trump’s out, :D and there are kind thoughtful men offering to split wood for strangers.
    The world is back on track. the Reset worked!! <3

  40. Sande says:

    dear Karen, thank you for writing your blog. The Art of Doing Stuff is an important part of many people’s lives; some of us for years & years & more years. We are grateful for all you (and your community of readers) share with us. We need you!

  41. Rakel says:

    Such a lovely story, Karen. I live way out west in little Turner Valley, Alberta. Where neighbors and unknowns shovel my driveway. Used to live in a somewhat small town in Quebec wth a never ending supply of maple to burn in our fireplace. No one ever offered to clear our driveway. I

  42. Tina says:

    I’m kinda disappointed, I was hoping David would be your new paramour. Screw the age difference, he’s certainly got game if he can split and stack all that wood. Hell, send him down here to Boston. He’s got 25 years on me but sounds like he’s in better shape!

  43. Annie says:

    Long time lurker here. I love your blog. You ALWAYS make me laugh! I am in such a FANTASTIC MOOD TODAY!!! Joe Biden just won the Presidency today and I AM EXTATIC!! This post just made my day even BETTER!! Thank You! I will now sleep well tonight!

  44. Catherine says:

    I’ve been crying all day. This made me cry again. I love David. Lucky you.

  45. L says:

    Omg. David is the same age as my father (who is cross between Alan Alda and Cary Grant, still fells his own trees and is also addicted to splitting and stacking wood.) My dad is still happily married to my mom, so your mom is out of luck on that option. But OMG, having you as a sibling would pretty much be my dream! Then again, you would grow to hate me in the long run because I actually painted a faux brick finish on a wall last week – which is exactly the opposite of what you did to your real brick wall a few posts back. But I digress.

    PLEASE introduce your mom to David. They can wear masks and meet thru a window. This is the stuff of which Nancy Meyers movies are made.

  46. Mindy says:

    I love this story. BUT, the entire time I was trying to figure out how you go through seven cords of wood in one season! Our only heat is wood. We burn non-stop from October until spring. Two and a half cords is the max. Do you need a woodstove in your life?

    • Karen says:

      You’re talking in bush cords, I’m talking in face cords. :) It’s about the same amount. ~ karen!

      • LS Nelson says:

        Okay now! THAT needs an explanation that wasn’t offered for all us people down south. Bush, face? Sure I could look it up, but I’d rather read your def than some dry mathematical thing.

        Also, why were you surprised when David said he was 92? How old did you suspect he was? And when can you post a photo? Think he’d agree to that? He shouldn’t be too hard to find knowing he lives in the ‘board and batten’ house in the direction he pointed, or nodded his head.

      • Rory says:

        I was just about to ask whether they were face cords or bush cords (ha. only reason I know that is from your previous post on how to stack wood).

        I think you should introduce your mother to david. He sounds like he’d keep her on her toes.

        • Kunyi says:

          Phew. I couldn’t figure out how you burned through 7 cords of wood- let alone moved and stacked 4 cords in one day and were alive to do more or less the same the next. However, I was willing to believe that you did it. Even knowing what a full cord of wood (or five) is like to stack I believed you could do it. Just goes to show how super-human we know you are.

        • Karen says:

          LOL. Well then you have more faith in my abilities than I do. ~ karen!

  47. Robert says:

    Ok, my first thought when I saw the e-mail was ” is Karen introducing us to her new beau?!”
    still, a lovely post

  48. Nicole Sparks says:

    This made me smile so much, and I hope you’ll go find David’s house to invite him over to chop wood.

  49. ecoteri says:

    I am so glad you told us about David, Karen. Because, well, I needed to hear a story that was simply a story. and that you figured out that we all need to know we are needed. good take-away. Going to bring in some firewood for tomorrow, I think, there was frost on the field here on Vancouver Island this morning. Brrr.

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