Friday night, Larry was tormented. We’d closed on the property without having the precious commitment from the county that we can build a house where we want to. “John never would have closed,” Larry says, referring to a former colleague at Columbia. “John didn’t get that commitment? He’d walk away. Last minute, whatever.”

John was a very successful businessman, all right. Unfortunately, the hard-driving, take-no-prisoners John has gone to his immortal home in the sky, while my more gentle husband is here beside me to make this adventure possible, no matter how it turns out.

Still, the question is, how to begin when we don’t know where the house will be. Can’t arrange to dig the well, build the road. Can’t go shopping for an ATV when there’s no place to park it.
Ah, but we can shop for a weed-eater to attack the thistles and blackberries which have sprung up all over the property. And so, on Saturday morning, two old people walk into a farm equipment store.

Are you telling us a joke?

Sounds like it, doesn’t it. “We’d like to look at a weed-eater,” Larry said. The salesman sprang up to help us. Led us to the wall where these devices hung, and pulled off a light-weight model and handed it to Larry. “How big is your yard?” he politely enquired.

“Um. A hundred acres,” Larry said.

“Did you say a hundred?” the salesman asked, almost successful in hiding his incredulity. We could feel the glances bouncing between the sales personnel in the showroom. The eyebrows lifting. Don’t these people realize they’re old?

Larry explained that we’re not trying to clear the whole property with this tool, just some patches of thistle. Blackberry.

Apparently what we need is a “brush-cutter.” Not a “weed-eater.” The Husqvarna people could be forgiven for thinking we have no idea what we’re doing. After some negotiation, after Larry tried on the harness and had a lesson in starting the thing, after we got a discount because they didn’t have the model we wanted, we walked out into the sunshine. Whew! That was fun!

We no longer felt becalmed. On the way. Yeah. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how it worked out.

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