Remember Larry, Darryl and Daryl from Bob Newhart days? Anyone who’s spent any time in the country has no trouble identifying their own Larry or Darry (or Daryl). Larry’s the good-natured one you ask when you basically need anything done, “Hey Larry, who empties the holding tanks around here, Hey Larry, where does one go to get a pump fixed? Hey Larry, know anyone who can trap a bear?” Daryl and Daryl are his equally good-natured sidekicks who try to outmaneuver each other for who gets to do the fun stuff but never talk.
We have our own “guy who knows everything” on our country road. It doesn’t matter what you need to know and who you think you need to ask; your query always gets boomeranged back to the same guy. The results, always helpful. The process? Somewhat imaginative.
As temperatures dipped to freezing and our pathetic pile of wood began to disappear, here’s how the conversation went the other day.
Hey, how ‘bout the acorns this year? (small talk to get the conversation going). By the way, might you know someone who can supply us with some firewood?
Great! Knew you’d have a name in mind. So, could you let us know, when you have a moment?
It will come back to me. Give me a day or so.
Well, it’s got kind cold, and gee, we are running out of firewood.
[I mean. We could get into our car and head to Toronto to our fancy, Toronto home with central heating….this part wasn’t in the conversation].
Well, I’ve been up all night, so I can’t remember the name. Plus, there was the funeral today.
Oh dear, who’s funeral?
Bob. He used to live in the Robinson Cottage before they sold, and of course, there was that fire tower incident.
Gee, did we know him (no idea about Bob, Robinson or anything about aforementioned incident)
Moment of silence
So, about the firewood…
So, what do you need?
Leave it with me.
10 minutes passes
Hey, still need that firewood?
Yes! got the name already?
Nope, but I’ve solved the problem for you.
Last year, remember that huge old maple tree from my lot that fell onto your lot?
And you know the guy down the road, two doors down, you know him, right?
Ah, not really. (thought for a moment—incorrectly— that maybe that was Bob)
Good. Great guy. Saw him at the funeral today.
So, there’s a cord of wood on his front lawn. You can help yourself. It’s from our tree, the one that fell on his property from our lot. I owe it to him to remove the wood. But you owe me for the tree from your property that fell on my lot, and I have to move the wood anyway, so here’s the deal….
I’ll cut up the tree up the hill behind your place, help yourself to the guy’s wood down the road, I’ll help myself to your wood, I’ll move the rest of his, and Bessie down the road needs some too— did you know that her husband died last spring?—and then, we’ll be even?
You’ll have to spit it with an axe, I figure that’s okay with you? And I got a wheel barrow you can borrow. Sure makes it easier to move the logs.
If you can follow all of this, you’re better than we were. It seemed like a lot of wood moving around. But within 24 hrs, all was done. The pile in the woods was a little less chaotic, the cord on the neighbour’s lawn had shrunk to something somewhat decorative, someone else’s wheel barrow was sitting in our driveway waiting to be returned to, well, someone, and there were a row of logs ready to be cut up for our wood stove.
As an added bonus, it turned out that our guy “who knows everything” had a friend staying at his place that week who just just loves cutting up wood especially when axes are involved (obviously a Darly) Makes sense, I guess. In Toronto, people actually pay money to go axe-throwing.
City folk. Humph. Not us. We’ve got our own Larry and Darlys—plus all the helpfulness that goes with it. A wheelbarrow full, at least.