Cariboo men

A weekly column humorous column by Max Winkelman.

This past Sunday, my brother was up to visit from Kamloops. A former 100 Mile House forest firefighter and all-around more naturally inclined towards mechanical and practical know-how, he brought up his chainsaw to remove a few dead trees from my mom’s place.

As he was visiting my house, we decided it was about time that I’d learn how to use a chainsaw. I wouldn’t really say I’m there yet but I’ve at least had some basics (lesson one if you will). Much like myself, my brother has a special power for things going wrong. He’ll tell you exactly what you need to be careful with and what you need to watch out for before having it go wrong in that exact way.

Once he was telling my youngest brother what the dangers are of driving on gravel roads not long before sliding into a brick wall. On another occasion, they were loading the back of a pickup truck with firewood and he told my youngest brother to be careful not to throw it through the back window of said pickup truck. Sure enough, he’d barely gotten the words out before throwing a log through the back window.

Teaching me how to use a chainsaw was no different. The first tree brought down was an easy one. No problem at all. He showed me how to take the branches off and how to buck it. The second tree was a much different story.

He asked me to analyze it and told me to explain how I would fall it (even though he was going to). I said I would remove another obstructing dead tree first. This was obviously not an option as “that would remove the challenge.” Within minutes, the tree had fallen over and was stuck on the aforementioned other dead tree refusing to budge. Dangerous escapades ensued with him trying to cut branches off a half fallen tree. The real difference here is though, he knows how resolve the situation; in the case of the pickup window, he knew how to replace it. In case of the stuck tree, he had some sort of fancy cut way too difficult for beginners. For me, at least I’ve gotten some basics but I can tell I’ll never be as naturally inclined towards those kinds of things.

My month and a half old son, on the other hand, may already be more of a Cariboo man than me. He’s possibly already gone to more cattle brandings than me where my wife has discovered that, in addition to the rumble of diesel trucks, he sleeps really well to the sounds of bawling calves. She promptly recorded the sound of calves being branded for him to listen to when she tries to get him to fall asleep at home. I’m not sure what that says about him falling asleep to me singing.