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Too much to do and not enough time

 


What a week. I had guests from Port Townsend, Wash. David and Vidya arrived Monday afternoon, just in time to walk with me to City Hall for the council meeting.

"This was better than theater," they both exclaimed. "It's got comedy, drama and a strong story line, all in one," said David.

"I keep telling people," I said, "government meetings offer more entertainment than reality television. Maybe we should set up the meeting room with recliners, remotes and refreshments." I giggled at the thought.

Sondra Ashton

Generally, when David and Vidya visit, I have home-improvement projects lined up. Vidya gravitates to the garden. I usually have a "man job" waiting for David. One year I had 15 yards of bark chips piled in my driveway. He almost turned the car around and left without so much as a "hello." But that project must not have been too daunting. They keep coming back. In recompense, I put a good feed on the table. And we take several trips around the countryside, in search of adventure.

This year I had no project in mind. So Tuesday after breakfast we wandered out to the backyard. The day was balmy and beautiful, as was the entire week. David and Vidya drifted over to my eastern fence, pointing and gesticulating, arms waving like windmills. "Sondra, let's trim that hedge back before it takes down your fence and gobbles up your yard."

We spent two days trimming brush from the caragana. We made a pile as high as the Great Wall of China. Chuck, a friend with a truck, kindly hauled it away. Remember, this project was not my idea. But I didn't argue!

My wood pile, up against the fence, created a barrier that we had to work around. It had started as my dad's wood pile, once neatly stacked. It was composed of ancient cottonwood, pine and willow logs, along with trimmings from half a lifetime of wood projects, pieces of 2-by-4s and such. I inherited the stack and added to it from time to time. I'll admit it was getting out of hand. Frankly, I managed never to actually "see" the jumbled heap of wood. I looked around it, over it, past it but never at it.

My dear friends decided we should move the wood to a better location and in the process, organize and straighten it. Big logs here. Small logs there. Kindling here. That sort of thing. I thought them rather delirious but they shifted into high gear. I watched for several minutes. Guilt driven, I had to go along for the ride. What's a woman to do? They were my guests. I moved wood. Together, stick by stick, we moved the entire muddled mess and, in the process, created the only straightened, organized, methodically and spatially collated wood pile in town.

These projects carried us to Friday when I flat out rebelled. "Too much work," I said. "Today we play."

"Good," said Vidya. "Let's go to the Salvation Army in Havre for a treasure hunt."

"I'll sit in the truck with a six-pack," David offered.

Throughout the day we contributed generously to the economic growth of Havre, feasted in three different venues, visited old friends, met new people, and loaded the car with booty. We celebrated the day's end with an Irish music concert in the Atrium.

We had not scratched off half the items on our "to-do" list. There is too much to do, so many things to see, such a variety of entertainment, and not nearly enough time.

The next morning, while pigging out with homemade beignets and coffee, the phone rang. It was my neighbor, Bev. "The bar at Cleveland is open tonight. Want to drive out for a beer and a burger?"

"You bet. We were discussing our options for celebrating St. Paddy's Day," I answered. "Let me call Shirley and see if she would like to go, too."

"Great. I'll pick you up at 4:30."

So we all piled into Bev's pick-up and drove to Cleveland. We could have celebrated in Turner or Zurich, or Zortman or any number of places. See what I mean? There are just too many things to do around here, and I want to do them all.

The next morning David and Vidya took off for a week of skiing in Whitefish. They'll be back again in July. I'm making a home-improvements project list.

(Sondra Ashton graduated from Harlem High School in 1963 and left for good. She finds things a little different now that she's returned. Keep in touch with her at http;//montana tumbleweed.blogspot.com)

 

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