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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 and Heating, Inc.. 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!



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.


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.


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.


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.


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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