Saturday, February 9, 2013

first pull

Thankfully I am physically fit.  In my 53rd year, however, shoveling snow has lost the last threads of any luster it may have momentarily held.

I fall into the category of fairly handy as well.  My neighbor to the right, a couple of years older, meets the benchmark of being expertly skilled with tools and craftsmanship.  Even so, sometimes snags with tasks can occur that can slow us down tremendously.

A few years ago during a winter storm both of us headed to our garages to fire up our snow blowers.  Simultaneously we discovered that our gas was stale, our carburetors were gummed up and changing the spark plugs or adding doses of starting fluid was of no help.  We were quite peeved that we had to hand shovel more than a foot of snow that was lining two driveways, yards and sidewalks.

So each year now I attend to my aging apparatus in the fall for a light tune-up, a test run and a self certified seal of inspection.  Then I cross my fingers of course.

Especially crossed because I know there are many days and weeks that traverse the calendar between mid October and mid February while my machine may sit idle.  Enough time in fact to cause me to break out into an easily recognizable case of throttle anxiety as I await the real test imposed by a big drop in barometric pressure and blizzard conditions.  

Fair lady certainly sensed my fear today as I unsuccessfully tip-toed back to our bedroom to grab a pair of warm socks while interrupting her last few minutes of dreams.  

I hope you don’t plan on making noise outside before 9 o’clock, on a SATURDAY, was her phrasing.  

The new guy diagonally across the street already blew out his whole driveway was my informed response at 7:45 am. 

Yes, and that was totally annoying came the retort.

Anxiety often gains the upper hand though.  Rules or no rules I couldn’t wait until the late hour of 9am to learn my fate.  I suited up for go time.  

My elderly neighbor to the left is a woodsman.  He spends much time traveling in the far North Country and has planted evergreen tree saplings in his yard that have grown to dwarf the surrounding homes and yards.  Even in the dead of winter there is enough wildlife nesting up in his sanctuary that most days our awakenings are timed to a Cardinal or Blue Jay happily plucking a berry, seed or nut and then making a flyover outside of our hallway window.  Some days a squirrel will miss a step from high above and slide down our shingles.  

This morning was different.  Time for change I suppose.  At precisely 8:05 am Eastern Standard Time I poured a half gallon of fresh gasoline into my cold and inactive assistant in the hopes of bringing it to life.  I carefully primed the engine with nine pumps, as a friend of mine who is into Feng shui recently clued me into the goodness of nines.  

I backed off, adjusted the choke to a spot I felt lucky, and moved the red lever to the on position.  I clumsily stood behind the rear bar and yanked the pull cord while my feet wobbled on a patch of ice.  The rope snapped back sooner than I preferred and for a split second I felt doomed...visions of ice picks circled my dizzying head.  Then suddenly and magically my world changed.  

As if the engine was briefly shaken by the same patch of ice, it vibrated and transformed itself from a near stall out sounding tremor to being all revved up and then it spewed out an ironically large, healthy puff of smoke from the exhaust.  The start held.  It was solid.  I was not feeling doomed.  I felt great.

No Cardinals, Blue Jays, transplanted Orioles or falling squirrels would beat me to it now.  The rest of the block was to be awakened by my uncontrollable and glorious reaction as I proclaimed it across the driveway drifts, ‘FIRST PULL BABY…F-I-R-S-T P-U-L-L'.

© 2013 Christopher’s Views