My First Wood Pile

Howdy, Neighbor. People have been telling Phil he's a good storyteller for a long time... so we are trying something new and pretty-much non-sales Just sharing occasional sweet stories, tall tales, and life lessons learned around these parts.

Northwoods Notes are a new, semi-bi-irregular peek into the heart and mind of Phil Frasier… you can read or listen... whichever you prefer... and you are receiving a copy because you're a current customer of Frasier's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We think you'll like them, but you can unsubscribe any time by clicking on the link at the bottom. But we hope you give us a chance!

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I was just a little tyke when my Uncle Dave taught me how to split firewood. Sure, he had a chain saw. But he wouldn’t let me touch it. He wouldn’t let *anyone* touch it.

Instead, Uncle Dave taught me how to split and stack firewood.

Sooooo much firewood... and so many blisters.

One day, after a day of splitting, I stacked a whole pile. I left that pile thinking Uncle Dave was gonna be so proud of me. But after I left, unbeknownst to me, that pile started leaning... and leaning... and leaning... until..

Timber. Down it went.

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I remember getting the call from Uncle Dave later that day asking me to come back to his house. No doubt to commend me for my prodigious wood-stacking skills.

Boy was I wrong.

Uncle Dave made me restack every piece... which was worse than stacking it the first time because I first had to pull it all apart before I could put it back together.

That’s the day I learned the right way to stack wood. Turns out, you gotta keep it level. Who knew.

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One day we were gathering wood from the woods and I heaved a little too hard and... CRACK!

I sent a piece of firewood right through the back glass of his old Dodge three-on-the-tree pickup truck.

Many years later, when Joanna and I moved into our first house together in Winter, Wisconsin, my wood-splitting skills sure did come in handy.

When I would teach my kids - and now, when I’m teaching *their* kids - how to split wood, I always tell the story of my first wood pile. And let me tell ya, they learn how to stack it right.

Turns out, you gotta keep it level.

Now, when I think back to those long days when Uncle Dave was teaching me how to cut firewood, I am so thankful. Not just for him teaching me a lifelong skill. But, more important, for not giving up on me.

Heaven knows he had many opportunities. But he kept on. He never gave up.

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If you are ever lucky enough to mentor a child, be like Uncle Dave. Don’t let a couple bumps in the road, or – in my case – a broken window on the back of an old orange pick-up – get in the way of your teaching. Kids may not always understand what you’re trying to teach... but believe me when I tell ya, they’re always learning.

Take care neighbor. Take good care.

Phil.

Oh, and P.S. – Uncle Dave still won’t let anyone use his chainsaw. But he’ll be happy to loan you his axe and show you a pile of wood. Just make sure you stack it the right way. Turns out, you gotta keep it level.

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