Where the Boys Are

Over the weekend, my sweetheart and I delivered several buildings near Hico. The great thing about these trips to Hico is that we get to stop at the Koffee Kup Kafe for a fantastic meal. (Read: “Pie with a Side of Bigotry”.)

This particular jaunt had several adventures in store for us. One of these was a delivery to a lovely home with a view overlooking the Dollar General store.

We called ahead, and the home owner said that he hadn’t yet trimmed the tree branches that stood in the way of delivering his garage, but he would do that when we arrived. When we pulled up there was a crowd of no fewer than seven men sitting and standing round in various states of repose, providing an audience for our work. As my sweetheart surveyed the area where the building was to go, these men created a parade of inbred curiosity following their drum major, the home owner. If they had begun singing and dancing, it would have been reminiscent of a scene from “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.”

After a brief discussion, they devised a plan to cut a few limbs, traverse a shallow ditch, and back the truck into the spot where the garage would be spotted. Not the types to over-think things, this bunch of congenitally cozy menfolk got out a chainsaw and a small tractor and went to work right away. Narrowly avoiding the inadvertent creation of an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” entry, they made short work of trimming the branches and dragging them out of the way.

There was an interesting hillbilly hierarchy at work, too. One of the sons (just a guess) was in charge of the chainsaw while the home owner, his father (again, a guess) ran the tractor. Everyone was amused when dad tipped the bucket on the tractor, nearly dislodging the young man with a running chainsaw in his hand and threatening to dump him on the ground, with the saw on top of him. The other gentlemen lent their assistance with dragging the branches in order by age, with the youngest brothers (or cousins or sons) going first, and the older brothers (or in-laws, or both) assisting only when directed to do so by the homeowner. The oldest and most preeminent of them were marked by the fact that they only worked with one hand while holding a koozie of beer in the other, not dissimilar from the way a dominant silverback gorilla is marked by his graying hair.

With the branches cleared out of the way we carefully backed the truck and trailer up into the yard. There was not a woman in sight (other than me) and I gained a new appreciation for the term “slack-jawed stare” as these mouth breathers carefully followed my progress as I helped to unload the building. After a little while, the head yokel sent them all away, and they returned to their perches in the driveway, which was adorned with old couches and chairs, and a refrigerator within arm’s length.

With the garage delivered and leveled, the home owner surveyed the work, and declared everything satisfactory only when his dog “marked” the door; apparently this was the dog’s seal of approval.

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