Arthur was both independent and stubborn. As he got older, it was hard for him to accept help. His good neighbors kept asking him what they could do for him, but he always told them he was managing everything okay. The youth in the community would mow his lawn and rake his leaves in the fall, and it about killed him. He felt he could do it himself. So, if the grass barely had any growth or even a few leaves were on the ground, he was out there working to get matters taken care of before someone showed up and did it for him.
Arthur needed surgery, and as word got out about it, everyone wanted to help even more. People would visit with him at church or stop by if they saw him out in his yard. It became so frequent he would hurry into the house if he saw a car coming, only to go back out when the coast was clear.
One day, he saw a group of people walking down the road, and he quickly ducked into the house to avoid them. But as they got closer, he realized it was just the older women in the community out on their evening walk. He watched them from his big picture window.
When they got to the big tree by his driveway, the branches hung so low over the road that the women had to go around them. He was embarrassed that he had let it get that way. He had noticed the growth earlier and planned to do something about it, but he never got it done. A little later, when someone stopped to see if they could help him, he almost mentioned the tree. But then he considered that he could do it after his surgery.
The next day he went into the hospital and had his surgery. It wasn’t supposed to be any big deal, and he thought he’d be out in a day—two at most. But as old as he was, he was there most of two weeks. The pain, recovery, and exhaustion took a toll on him, and he didn’t eat well. The doctor expressed concern about the amount of weight Arthur lost. But eventually, Arthur was released, and his wife drove him home.
Arthur still had some healing to do, but after a few more days, the doctor told Arthur he could get back to his activities if he worked slowly, carefully, didn’t overexert himself, and ate better so his weight would come back to a normal level. That was a joyful day for Arthur. They had barely returned from the doctor appointment when Arthur was trying to decide what he would do first.
That was when he saw the ladies’ group coming down the road. He thought of the tree and grabbed the loppers.
“Remember the doctor’s orders,” his wife reminded him. “Nothing too strenuous.”
“I’ll just cut off some of the smaller tree branches to make it so people can walk under it,” he said on his way out the door.
Arthur could see the ladies approaching and hurried to get enough cut so they wouldn’t have to skirt the tree branches. If he was honest, he had to admit that he wanted them to see that he was back to work, and his surgery wasn’t holding him down.
By the time he got to the tree, the ladies were only about thirty yards away. He gallantly reached the loppers up to cut the most offending branch to clear the path for the women. But that was when an issue he hadn’t counted on came into play. Though he had his belt cinched up to the tightest notch, it wasn’t sufficient for the amount of weight he had lost. Just as the ladies reached the tree, and just as Arthur did his first snip, his pants fell to his ankles.
At that point, Arthur debated what to do. He considered that there was no way to undo what had just happened, so he just continued to snip branches until the ladies had passed, acting like it was all a normal thing. He hoped that not making a big deal of it would help everyone forget about it sooner.
But when an older widow stopped by one day to visit with his wife, Arthur heard them talking, and he realized it might be hard to live down what had happened.
Both women laughed when the woman said, “Your husband sure knows how to put on a good show.”
Arthur decided that maybe he shouldn’t be too proud to admit he could use some help now and then.
Vivian McConkie AdamsMay 4, 2022
Very funny. Always love your column.