Okay, so I’m out in the yard on Saturday getting it ready for May Day. The biggest task remaining is preparing the tree that will be the maypole. It is already cut down, which is good, and the branches are all cut off, very good. But it’s got this thick bark on it, and lots of short little nubby former-branch parts, that have to be somehow smoothed down in a week’s time. Distressingly, no one has shown up to offer to do this work for me. No strapping fisherman from down the street, no neighborly construction guy who just happens to have a draw knife in his back pocket. Not even a nearby lesbian phone company repair-type who’s not afraid to use a chainsaw.
Nope, there was only me and Vince, who is pretty pathetic when it comes to this kind of stuff. All he cares about is whether I go out of his sight for too long. I was getting a little sick of that kind of attention. So I went out and bought a draw knife, borrowed a chisel, found a hammer and a pry bar, and then stood over that pole for a good long time. It was a classic surreal moment of my new life. Now I will figure out how to peel the bark off a freshly cut tree. How did I get here??
A friend helpfully said, “you’re looking at about 4-5 hours work,” and declined to offer assistance. Lyra kindly suggested that I not get too stressed out, because otherwise I might not have much fun. I’d already washed the windows, weed whacked the entire place, re-graveled the whole driveway and cleaned out all the cobwebs from indoors. I had run out of excuses. So feeling like an absolute fool I sat down on my new maypole and began peeling the bark off it.
It did take several hours, and I had to stop a few times to rest my aching back. Using the draw knife from the top down was kind of like peeling a huge carrot, only with an adjustable blade. The bark was too thick down on the trunk to use the skinny little knife I bought, so I used the pry bar to peel it back a ways, then just tugged it with my hands for as far as it would go before breaking off. I must say, the first time I peeled a strip from one end clean to the other, it was quite a thrill.
The only thing that kept me going through the process was laughing at all the double entendres such an activity affords. Now that it’s done, aside from a little knot-trimming work and final smoothing down, I thought I’d open up the phone lines and see what kind of jokes you all can make of the situation — no holds barred! The winner gets a delicious margarita made by me, and also gets a chance to sit on my front porch and admire the sturdy pole in my front yard. Oh, and if anyone can actually make it into a limerick, double margarita!