Musin’s and Thinkin’s

A Monthly Stroll Down Folksy Byways

with Jack Pendarvis

Every columnist needs a sideline to fall back on, and it is no secret that I make a little extra pocket money in lumberjack contests.

I’ll never forget one particular experience up around Grindstone Lake, when my partner in the two-man crosscut sawing competition didn’t show up. I had a lot riding on this one. That prize money was going to get my poor old mother an operation. Luckily, just when all seemed lost, a mysterious volunteer stepped forward to help me out.

“What’s in it for you?” I asked. Years of part-time semiprofessional lumberjacking had made me moody and suspicious.

“The satisfaction of a job well done” came the forthright but muffled answer from the depths of a woolen scarf, wound for warmth around the face of my unusual benefactor. All I could see were the eyes, sparkling and twinkling merrily with unspoken knowledge.

With little other choice, I welcomed my new partner into my confidence, and good thing, too. Quite the team we made, easily besting all the other lumberjacks. Only after we had received our blue ribbons did the figure remove its tuque, allowing curly auburn locks to freely flow. For that champion crosscutter turned out to be a beauteous woman! Beneath the many layers of flannel that added deceptive bulk to her petite frame, she wore a ritzy cocktail dress and stilts. I was pretty surprised because I thought she was going to turn out to be Santa Claus. I told her as much, to which she responded with her full-throated and seductive laugh: “Ho, ho, ho!”

I was repeating this story just the other day to someone who asked how I met my wife.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.

Jack Pendarvis has written three books.


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