When I travel across the country, my van is loaded with cameras, tripods, computers, electronic gizmos and navigational aides. When Brother David hits the road, he carries such implements of destruction that trees and bushes shrink back in horror as he goes by.
Mother passed on certain traits to each of us. I got her desire to explore new roads and to marvel at the power of storms. David, on the other hand, inherited her desire to attack green, growing things and shorten them to within an inch of their lives (or more).
The sun had scarcely started to think about waking up roosters when he brought out a hedge trimmer that could chop down walnut trees and a blower so powerful that he has to put rocks in his pockets to keep from being blown backward. The only thing that makes more noise than the blower is his snoring in the middle of the night. He was sleeping on the porch (“cause it’s nice and cool”) with the door closed and I was in the basement trying to finish a blog post when I started having problems with my monitors vibrating. I traced the disturbance to my brother creating low-frequency, but powerful sounds.
Like a space shuttle launch
I covered a space shuttle launch one time where I set up a recorder to capture the roar of the thing blasting off. After the last speck of it disappeared into the blue, I played the recording back and found out that the launch caused the earth to shake and created a massive sound wave that washed over you like the surf, but I didn’t capture it. My theory was that the sound was too low a frequency for my recorder to pick up.
If I don’t get the sonic sound track tonight, I’m going to assume he hits those same frequencies. Maybe I can get video of the dining room windows vibrating.
Why don’t we just use a chainsaw?
I watched him tackle a bush in the front yard that was almost as high as the house. He used the massive hedge trimmer to bite out huge hunks of it, then he would walk around snipping a leaf here, a branch there, must like a barber might do to a head of hair. Every trip around the bush would cause it to get smaller and smaller. (I can only imagine how short the coffee table would become if he thought one leg was a little off and he needed to even it up.)
Finally, I said, “Dave, why don’t we make the process shorter? I’ll get the chainsaw and we can just take it off level with the ground.”
“It’ll grow back fast,” was his response.
Does she REALLY like those flowers?
After we finished Mother’s splendid dinner of liver and onions, mashed potatoes, with gravy, corn and some pink stuff with cherries in it, I felt a nap was in order, but he decided the grass needed mowing. Now, I’ve offered to do that before, but Mother always says she likes to mow, so don’t touch her mower. She must have seen the crazed look in David’s eyes, so she didn’t even try to stop HIM.
It took him a little while to figure out that you have to hold down the brake to start the beast. I think he was confused because he didn’t seem to understand the concept of a brake. He operated at two speeds: Fast and You’d Better Get Out of My Way.
Here he is contemplating if Mother really LIKES those flowers. “They’ll grow back,” I could hear him thinking.
Dust and a spray of walnuts
I watched him running at full tilt boogie right up until the time he made a turn and sprayed me with sticks, rocks, boulders and a rat-a-tat-tat of walnuts propelled faster than the speed of sound. I know it was that fast because they hit me before I heard ’em coming. I got the hint.
I calculate that he’s gonna be slowing down a little this week: he’s turning 60 on September 12.