I ran into Romie Hilderbrand as I was turning on to the highway the other day. He smiled at me as he drove past, partly because his Toyo was chock full of firewood and it was only 10 AM in the morning. Romie has slowed down some but he still gets out there and gets it done on a regular basis. As he drove past I had to wonder how many cords of firewood and how many truck loads of logs he has cut in the last 60 or 70 years.
Earlier in the same day I ran into another “old timer”, Steve Konz coming out of the drug store. I remember tossing 100 pound hay bales to cows at 20 to 30 below zero with Steve 30 years ago, and he’d already been doing that for at least 20 or 30 years by that time. And while he is a little more bent over than last year and is using his cane more regularly, his blue eyes haven’t lost there sparkle and I think his sharp eyes could still pick out a fly speck on a mule deer’s butt at 500 yards or better. His humor hasn’t lost its edge either. I asked him if he had all his hay up yet and he said he had and then I mentioned I hadn’t cut my own firewood yet. He asked me with a twinkle in his eye if he could recommend a wood cutter to me. I smiled condescendingly and reminded him that I was a wood cutter. He looked at me sharply for a minute and then returned, ” Yes, I’m aware of that.” And turned sharply and walked away. He not only had caught me mistakenly taking him for an old dodderer , but had also taken a crack at my wood cutting abilities.
I don’t think they make them like that anymore.