There was an old Manitoba Maple tree, 60-70 years old, in the center of my yard. A few years ago, I noticed that a large branch on the north side of the tree had started to die as it no longer was producing many leaves. So, two summers ago, after a strong thunderstorm with raging winds, I told my son, climb up into that tree and remove that branch before it falls on someone. Eventually, he got around to it. So we started taking down that old tree. After we removed that one dying branch, the entire tree looked lopsided, so we decided to take down the whole tree. But we discovered we don't have a chainsaw big enough for the trunk, so we were only able to cut it down to its central trunk.
So there it was, this big old trunk sitting smack dab in the center of our yard, branchless, leafless, all winter long, all summer long, for two seasonal cycles. I told my neighbor when she gave me the name of a tree removal company that, yes, we had to get at the tree trunk and take it down. Other friends told me they also had trees taken down and the cost was between 500- 1300 dollars, depending on the size of the tree. I looked at the tree and figured it would be about $750 if I got a company to come in to take it down.
So I got an old Finn guy to take it down. Last week I asked one of my older Finnish friends when she came by if her husband might do it for us. He is a bushworker by trade and knows how to take down trees. While retired from full time work, he stills keeps busy logging trees, especially for firewood. Nellu looked out the window at the trunk of the maple standing in the yard and asked, "That small trunk?" Jo, she said, mȁ kysyn Torstilta. So yesterday Nellu phoned me and said Torsti will come in the morning to take it down.
And that he did. I put my marking aside and went out to see how I could help. Torsti, however, is cut from the mold of the older generation Finnish Canadian men, like my dad was. They don't mind having company, but they don't need you to get in the way of getting the work done. Torsti is in his early 80s and like my father's generation of Finnish Canadian men, no work is too much for him, no job is too formidable, no job can't be done. Never mind if you've had some surgeries, may be missing a finger or a toe, have diabetes, survived cancer, or your back may not be as nimble as it was when you were younger. Never mind about that. You just tackle the job and don't complain. You don't need a crew of people to help you before you consider the work, although you know there'll be someone around to help you. Finnish Canadian men of the older generation just show up and do the job. They just tackle the job and get it done.
I have to say, watching Torsti work this brilliant autumn day, that I am going to really miss his generation of Finnish Canadian men when they all die. I really don't know anyone else like them; older Finnish Canadian men are irreplaceable. They are different company.