• Darrell Kendall

It Takes a Village--And Bribery

This place is mine. As such, I get to make all the decisions, enjoy all the toys, and can do whatever I want. I don't have to consult with anyone, take any advice or ask anyone's permission (shh...don't tell the county that part). That also means that I get to do all the lifting, dragging, shoveling, raking and cutting myself----UNLESS, I can coerce unsuspecting friends and family into helping. So, when resident weather guru Betsy Kling promised me record temperatures and sunshine on a February Saturday, it was time to put my plan into action.

Meemaw and Grandpa are easy gets, they are excited to help and don't need extra motivation. I am the Golden Boy, so I know they will be here. Furby's mom knows that a 4-H program is the long term payoff, and Furby's Papa does what he's told. I knew they would help. But how do I get friends to help? After all, friendship is a pretty weak bargaining chip! The answer- the promise of Vitamin D, bonfires, and smoked chicken! By the time I was done bribing those close to me, I had commitments from 20 people, an extra chainsaw, a weed-wacker, and truckload of tools.

The day turned out to be perfect. Sixty three degrees of sunny bliss led to incredible productivity. Huge piles of brush disappeared (legally) into mounds of smoldering ash thanks to the fire-marshaling of Meemaw and Grandpa, plenty of dead wood was cut and piled thanks to the Furb, who rode in the backpack while her mama moved logs, and throughout the day friends chipped in to make the first nice day at the HAH a huge success.

We capped the day with a banquet of chicken, salad, potatoes, and all the dessert we could stuff our faces with. There were, of course, a few adult beverages to ease the muscled aches. From the youngest helper (8 months) to the oldest (not telling), there were smiles on everyone's faces at the end. Even if they were 100% faking their bliss, it made me feel like the day was a success.

When all was said and done, this is the kind of day that I imagined when I first concocted this plan. Friends and family around a fire, laughing and having a good time. The work they did was appreciated beyond words, and I'll never turn down an extra pair of hands (wink wink, nudge nudge). My dream for this place is about relaxing with people I like, teaching some kids that there is more to having fun than pixels on a screen, and finding ways to responsibly make this piece of the world produce and earn its keep. Maybe, just maybe, we will one day feast on nothing but what I can produce on these 13 acres.

Final Note: Don't let my sarcastic writing style undermine the appreciation I have for Meemaw, Grandpa, and the Furby Family. They have been, and undoubtedly will continue to be unwaveringly willing lend a hand at a moments' notice. It makes for a better story if I can be an ungrateful jerk about it.

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17848 Munn Rd. 

Chagrin Falls, OH 44023