The Pine Stays Green in Winter


It’s been over 60 weeks now since Brent pierced the veil, taking to wing into the uncharted complexities of the great unknown; a sailor now upon the infinite sea, navigating within that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns.

I dream of him often and think of him daily and always it leaves me with a smile.

Yesterday, Todd Helt, an old and dear friend, sent me a message on Facebook that read:

Hey brother, heading your way with Hacksaw Helt this weekend, he needs you and our dearly departed Smitty to plant about 8,000 Xmas trees and pick up a field of rocks.

Talk about a parade of memories that conjured up.

My friends and I worked off and on for Todd’s dad, Dandy Don Helt, for a number of years. A bit of landscaping here and there, but mostly it was planting pine trees in the summer, harvesting them in the winter, and selling them at Christmas.

It was, far more often than not, a blast.

I remember vividly one winter, with four feet of snow or more on the ground, Brent, Brian,  and I being alone out in a field of pines, digging through the white powder on our hands and knees so we could saw down Christmas trees at ground level

We’d take breaks, copping a smoke and sipping hot chocolate we’d spiked with Canadian Mist, then drag the trees through a netting machine and load them on trailers to haul back to Marion.

Man, we all pretty much worked out there at one time or another. I’ve got a million stories I could tell of working with Brent, Brian, Trent, Clay, and the whole Helt Clan of course, but I’ll save those for when winter rolls around.

For now though, I’ll bask in those old tales and look forward to seeing old friends this weekend…




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