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The Montana chain saw for the Canadian he-man

"I don't know what to do," said Kathy. "Richard thinks he has to have a chain saw. I keep telling him we don't have money in the budget for a chain saw, but you know Richard. He is researching for the perfect model."

"Are you sure he hasn't already bought one? Did you check to see if he has one hidden in the trunk of the car? And, whatever you do, don't take any trips without Richard." When Kathy and I go on a trip, Richard often takes the opportunity to buy his latest coveted item, whether toy or "necessity." He always lands an irresistible deal.

Sondra Ashton

Kathy and Richard recently moved to the country, to a 1920's cottage on Pender Island in British Columbia. It is a real fixer-upper, but it has sound bones and is well worth the work. Part of the property is an apple-orchard, part of the land is overgrown. So they alternate house renovation work with brush cutting and pruning on the "farm."

"I'll search the trunk to make sure," said Kathy, "but I don't think he has bought it yet. He keeps talking about the comparative benefits of several brands. You know Richard. He'll want the most expensive chain saw on the market, and he'll come up with reasons why it's such a good buy. If we really need one, my brother John will bring his over. I'm terrified what Richard might do if he actually had a chain saw."

Richard is a physician, a jazz aficionado, an astute and learned man. He is well-read. He is gentle and loving. He is a wonderful listener. He is not mechanical. He is not a he-man-machine kind of guy. A chain saw in Richard's hands could do serious damage.

"There goes the apple orchard," I said, while visions of Richard on the loose with a chain saw ripped through my head. "Worse yet, there goes Richard's leg."

The months have slipped by since our conversation. So far my friend has not bought a chain saw. However, he periodically renews the quest. I know Richard well. Eventually he will buy his chain saw.

So, when at the Annual Flea Market in Loma, I saw the chain saw display, my eyes bugged out. Immediately I thought of Richard. "Oh, this is too perfect," I said. I was so excited that I was almost dancing.

What a fun event the Flea Market was. Vendors came from all over with an un-ending variety of stuff to enjoy, goods to buy, food to eat and all under one roof. At the same time, throughout the little town, several people held their own garage sales. It was at such a sale that I found the chain saw.

When I got home that night I phoned Kathy and Richard, "Your troubles are over, Richard. I found you THE chain saw of your dreams. I knew I had to get it, no matter the cost. It was such a great deal that I couldn't pass it up. I'm so excited. Richard, I know you have wanted one of these since you moved to Pender Island. I will ship it to you on Monday.

Kathy said, "I'm not sure whether I am still talking with you. What were you thinking?"

I ignored her. "Richard, it is complete — you will not have to buy any accessories. And, Kathy, it is the safety features that impressed me. I have been around chain saws all my life and never have I seen one like this. It is in perfect condition. When it arrives I want photos. Oops, the time. Gotta go! Love you."

I have been cackling up my sleeve ever since. They will probably get the package next Monday. I wish I could be a bug on their wall and see the look on their faces when they open the box. For customs, I declared the five-dollar value that the Montana chain saw cost me at the garage sale. It is a perfect replica of an ordinary hand saw's handle from which hangs a long carved chain, the links beautifully entwined. The man carved the whole thing from a length of wood.

When I get ready to buy my next vehicle, I am going shopping in Loma. The man who carves the "chain" saws also makes a broom with a diamond willow handle and straws of native grass. It is just my kind of vehicle — classy and easy on gasoline.

(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High School in 1963 and left for good. She finds, upon her return, that things are a little different. Keep in touch with her at


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