“Fannie, we just bought a new house, I am so excited,” said Clarissa. “The only thing is, I don’t garden and it has this gorgeous bed of roses we are going to tear out, do you want them? I don’t want to just throw them away.”
“You know how much I love roses, of course, I would be happy to take them off your hands. This is the middle of September, they are probably still in full bloom, can you wait until February for us to transplant them?”
“That’s no problem, we won’t have time to tear out the garden until next spring,” she said.
Richard entered the kitchen.
“Clarissa, I am so excited for you, I can’t wait to tell Richard. I’ll talk to you later,” I said before hanging up the telephone.
“Tell me what?” asked Richard.
“I was just talking to Clarissa, she and Devon just bought a new house. They have roses they want us to take off their hands in February,” I said.
Moments before sunset, inspiration whispered into Richard’s ear. The front yard begged for a dramatic change.
Using an electric chainsaw, Richard decimated any plant in his way.
Hearing the buzz coming from the front of the house, I raced outside.
“Fannie, you are just in time to help me, here is the spot for your new rose garden. Could you grab the yard waste bin and help me clean this up,” said Richard as he displayed the former shrubbery with a wave of the chainsaw. A giant heap lay on the ground.
“All we have to do is dig out the roots and you will be ready to plant,” he said.
“Oh Richard, Aunt Verla is going to have a cow when she comes over next, those camellias were planted there by my grandmother.”
Richard shrugged, “She’ll get over it. Besides they were getting ratty looking, the roses will look much better here.”
At the end of January, we commenced ‘Operation Root Removal’ in preparation for the roses.
Armed with a shovel and a rake, I commenced digging. Metal pinged against rock with each attempt to put the shovel into the soil.
Thirty minutes later, two-inches of top soil towered in a small pile next to a twelve-inch diameter indent.
Time for the big guns.
The mighty pickax, released from the tool shed, shrugged off its cobwebs and took a deep breath.
Witnessing Richard’s efficient use of the pickax, I knew a quick fix awaited me.
Marking out a six-foot by three-foot rectangle in the soil with the shovel, I raised up the pickax.
Ready, aim, swing.
The pickax reverberated in my hands, pain radiated up my arms.
Never give up, never surrender!
Employing systematic effort I forged on.
Richard opened the window in the living room.
From the comfort of the sofa watching “Khartoum”, he shouted encouragements through the window.
“Nice job honey.”
“You need to move your feet apart a bit more.”
“You’re doing a great job.”
“I’m glad it’s you out there and not me.”
“Richard, I hope you are enjoying the show,” I said, sweat beads forming on my forehead.
“Of course, I love to watch the way your butt jiggles when you swing the pickax,” said Richard, “it’s my favorite part.”
He demonstrated great wisdom remaining inside.
Once the earth softened I went back to the shovel.
Let’s just say, roots 1, Fannie 0.
At which point, Richard took pity on me and came out to help.
With a mighty thrust he drove the shovel into the loosened dirt. The handle shattered as the shovel glanced off a large rock.
“Richard, did you break any bones?” I asked. “Are you bleeding anywhere?”
“Nothing’s broken and I’m not bleeding but I am in a lot of pain right now,” he said, holding his arms at a weird angle in front of him.
“Once I recover that rock is mine,” he said the color flushing back into his face.
“Here let me try getting the rock up with the pitch fork.”
With gentle force, I probed the ground around the broken shovel. Finding one side of the rock, I drove the pitch fork into the ground. Leaning all of my weight on the handle, three tines snapped reverberating against the rock like a tuning fork.
Our new neighbor, Bunny, walked over after watching us struggle with the soil.
“Hey, Richard and Fannie. May I suggest you use a chainsaw to cut through the larger roots and break up the smaller ones? They are probably what’s holding your boulder in place.”
“That’s a great idea,” I said. “By the way, Bunny, what made you think of using a chainsaw?”
“Honey, I’m from Texas, we know chainsaws.”
Our electric chainsaw cut its own cord after five minutes. We needed a chainsaw with grit.
In the halcyon days of Paul Harvey, back in the 1990’s we would wake up each morning hearing Paul’s venerable voice saying, “And heres the rest of the story”.
Identifying his sponsor he said, “Hus-ka-var-na chainsaws”.
I would wander around the apartment repeating, “Hus-ka-var-na chainsaws” to the point Richard would threaten to flick me in the head.
“Richard, we have go to to Lowes,” I said.
“Fannie, Home Depot is a lot closer.”
“We can’t go to Home Depot, Lowes is the Husqvarna dealer,” I said with a huge smile.
Richard rolled his eyes.
“Richard, we need to get a Husqvarna chainsaw.” I said with enthusiam.
Thirty minutes later we stood in Lowes with another couple looking at the various models of chainsaws.
“Oh Richard, we have to get the 20” model, we need the biggest one to get through all those roots. You could even teach me how to use it. I promise I won’t accidentally cut off any body parts. Please, please, please!”
The couple standing next to us inched their way back toward the barbecues.
We purchased the chainsaw with its associated oils, lubricants and carrying case.
In the parking lot I chanted, “Hus-ka-var-na chainsaws”.
Perhaps Richard earned consideration for sainthood since I repeated it all the way home without receiving the obligatory head flicking.
When we got home, Richard posed with the chainsaw while I took pictures, then we switched.
Afterward, we created a special shelf in the garage for the chainsaw.
Valentine’s Day shouted from the calendar, or perhaps from the Hallmark commercials.
The perfect weekend to transplant roses. Richard took me to Tea at the Hawthorn Tea Room to celebrate. During our meal the the sky became a water fall.
We waited one more day before using the chainsaw.
Sunday arrived and the clouds thinned. Time to break out the chainsaw. Richard filled it with oil using my turkey baster, and then filled it with gasoline.
“So that’s where my turkey basters keep disappearing to?” I asked with a pointed tone.
“What,” he said, feigning complete innocence.
I raised one eyebrow.
“I didn’t do anything,” he said with a wicked grin.
I stood there looking at him.
“Well at least I don’t put them back in the drawer and let you use them again without saying anything. That’d be worse.”
“You could have said something so I could al least stock up,” I said. “Are there any other items I should be replacing?”
“Well, we may want to get new steak knives,” he said with a sheepish grin.
“Do I want to know?” I asked.
“Um, no, you don’t,” he said as he studied the intricacies of the chainsaw.
“Just start the chainsaw.”
Richard gave the cord a pull.
Chug, chug, chug.
It choked falling silent. He pulled the cord again.
Chug, chug, chug, silence.
On the third pull the earth move two blocks away.
Richard dove the chainsaw into the roots. Dirt and rocks flew through the air. Sparks and smoke heralded each rock.
Three times I performed the River Dance stomping out the flames left behind.
The chainsaw smoked.
Richard turned it off and set it on the ground.
The smoke grew more dense.
It billowed from his head, neck and coat sleeves.
My husband is smokin’ hot, but spontaneous combustion, not on the menu.
Lucky for him we didn’t need the hose.
Richard went inside for a cool down while I dug out the roots and planted the roses. Three rain showers, five hours, and ten rose plants later the sun gave up and went to bed.
I lasted long enough to re-heat left overs. Then we crawled into bed while visions of power tools danced in our heads.
Monday morning our limbs waded through molasses. Bending over, not an option. We spent the day living on Ibuprofen.
But the yard looked good.
And we own a Hus-ka-var-na chainsaw.