My Sweet Sven, and his side kicks, Hunter, AKA, Rin Tin Tin and Tuna, the only cat who doesn't care for tuna, set about making a walking trail in the snow.
"I threw out my back," Sven says a little later.
"Well, I got the snowmobile started and I was going along the outer edge of the field. There was a tree down. I tried to go around it but I couldn't turn sharp enough, so, I got off to shift the sled and I wrenched my back yanking on the ski. I think I heard something pop. Now the snowmobile is stuck at the far end of the field. Right about the same spot it was buried two years ago."
"But, you got it started?"
This I asked because Sven had had many a failed attempt.
"Yeah, I took the spark plugs out of the cylinders and poured new gas in. The gas I have been using the last few years was really old."
I brought him two Ibuprofens and a glass of water.
A few hours later Sven and his crew went back outside with the chain saw.
"What are you going to do?"
"Cut that tree out of the way."
"What about your back?"
"It feels a little better," he says.
I would have gone along, but I am sentenced to wearing a hard plastic gray boot on my left foot that goes up to my knee for two more weeks.
That is a whole other story.
But it is the reason that they are trying to make a path through the snow.
So that I, me, Millie Noe have someplace to walk a dog who happens to believe that taking him for walks is my calling. It is difficult to do so in my monster boot unless I stay on the actual snowmobile highway that runs through our property. And Hunter finds it difficult to resist the urge to pursue and terrorize innocent souls just passing through.
"How'd it go?" I asked on their return.
"Well, I got the chain saw started," he says.
"And I got the tree out of the way."
"But now I can't get the snowmobile to start, again."
Let me tell you a little story about my sweet Sven.
It was sometime in the early nineties.
I was playing hard to get one Saturday in order to miss out on a hot and dusty rock date.
I had been on one the night before and I decided that I would rather do just about anything than load a truck bed full of lime stone one at a time and then turn around and unload them.
But we needed a lot of them, as Sven was building a new chimney on our new house.
"Well," he says that afternoon. "I had the truck all loaded up at the quarry and drove down as far as Highway K."
"Uh-huh," I said, sitting in front of the oscillating fan with one eye on the TV.
"And I got a flat tire."
"What?" I said turning my full attention to Sven, noticing that his baby face was covered in grime and his white T-shirt was gray and dusty.
"A flat tire," he repeats. "I had to unload the rocks on the side of the road."
"So I could jack up the truck."
"Oh." I said.
"Well, I got it jacked up. But I didn't have a spare."
"I took it out to make room for the rocks."
"You've got to be kidding."
"No. Not kidding. I had to walk to town."
"That's a long way!"
"It's not that far. Maybe a mile, mile and a half," he says.
"But it was so hot out there."
"Yeah. It still is."
"Karen was working at the gas station and she let me borrow her car. So, I drove to the house, picked up the spare tire, took it out to the truck and changed it. Then I dropped off Karen's car at the gas station, walked back to the truck and loaded up the rocks, again. I just got them unloaded."
Who takes their spare tire out of their vehicle?
Who tries to use shitty gas in their snowmobile for three years?
"Well, how is your back?" I asked, turning my attention to the present situation.
"It really hurts."
"You'd better take it easy," I said. "Don't worry about that snowmobile."
He did take it easy.
Until the next day.
"Where are you going now?" I said.
"We are going to go and get my chain saw."
"Where is it?"
"It is out there with the snowmobile. At the end of the field."
"I left it there yesterday."
"It's heavy. I didn't want to carry it all the way here."
"But, what about your back?"
"I think it feels a little better today."
And then my sweet Sven, Hunter and Tuna went out the door again.
And that is why, I am now a one legged nurse.
Here is Hunter's version of what took place.
"We finally got to the end of the field. I went through the deep snow because the path we made was uneven and not packed down. All of our feet kept breaking through. Tuna was up to his head. I was hoping he might disappear. Dad tried to start the snowmobile while I was digging a hole to get to a mouse nest. The snowmobile made some noise and there was a big cloud of smoke. But it wouldn't go. Dad told us we were leaving. So, I quit digging. Dad picked up the chain saw. Tuna followed us. Because Tuna always follows us. We took the real snowmobile trail down the middle of the field back home. Dad was walking kind of funny the whole way. He told me not to chase any snowmobiles if they came by. I tried not to chase any snowmobiles. But. Then a couple snowmobiles came by."
Here is Tuna's version of what took place.
Here is the doctor's version of what took place.
"You have a compression fracture of the lumbar. Take these for pain and stay off your feet."