Small Engine Success Secrets

Small Engine Success Secrets

Subaru Gas Engine

Subaru Overhead Valve Gas Engine – Premium 5 year warranty

Quality construction equipment can save a contractor both time and money, as it will reduce dollars spent on repairs, and the money lost due to lower productivity and machine rental costs – not to mention the time spent on coordinating repairs, obtaining replacement equipment and shifting jobs as a result of broken machines. Ultimately, a quality piece of equipment will lead to better performance and a happy, repeat customer. Below is a list of suggestions to get the best life out of your small engine.

But how does one determine quality? A critical component of overall equipment performance is the engine. Because the engine plays an important role in the life of equipment, the right combination of engine and equipment is critical. Be sure to consider the following top five appropriate criteria when evaluating an engine.

1. Fresh Air
One of the most important engine considerations is a good air cleaner. An efficient air cleaner will prevent dirt from entering the engine, reducing wear on the valves and rings. Dirt allowed into the engine will also get into the oil and cause additional wear on the connecting rod and crankshaft. An air cleaner with a dual element and small micron size will help to ensure optimum protection against dirt.

2. Dust Defense
A dust-proof carburetor is also essential. A sealed carburetor that prevents dust from entering reduces damage that may be caused by a clogged air cleaner. Should the air cleaner become clogged, a sealed carburetor design becomes a must-have, back-up defense mechanism to prevent the damaging effects of dust. Without seals in place, dirt will get sucked through the gaps between the choke shaft and throttle shaft, and increase wear on carburetor and engine components.

3. A Solid Lining
Another important feature is a cast iron cylinder liner. Most outdoor power equipment engine blocks are made from aluminum, a very soft material in contrast to the steel or chrome rings on the pistons. This variation in hardness causes the piston rings to quickly wear away the aluminum cylinder walls. As the cylinder walls wear down, compression is lost and, ultimately, the engine no longer produces enough power to properly run the equipment. Because cast iron is much harder than aluminum, cylinders with a cast iron lining wear much better in combination with the piston rings, leading to increased engine life.

4. Inner Strength
Steel alloy components are another aspect to consider. Engines with items such as cam gears and cams made with cast iron last longer because the wear characteristics are much better than those of engines made with plastic components. Ball bearing support of the crankshaft is also important. Because the ball bearings reduce friction, the power delivered to the crankshaft is increased.

5. Good Sense
Finally, an engine should have a low oil sensor. If an operator allows the oil to drop below a safe range, a low oil sensor will ground out the ignition and stop the engine before damage occurs. This can be vital, especially for busy contractors who often overlook basic maintenance items like checking the oil.

If you need small engine parts or need to look at engine and equipment parts breakdowns, please click here. 

If you need service on small engines, please click here.

 

Call Gamka today for more information at 732-248-1400

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Now Food Politically Incorrect

The New York Post ran a story the other day on December 18th. It was about students at Oberlin College and how they were offended by the lack of fried chicken, are very agitated over sushi rice preparation and how  the Vietnamese sandwiches are served in the school cafeterias. They were registering their gripes in the school newspaper, with the college president and the campus dining officials. Dishes are “insensitive”!

My gosh, what they must be going through.  Let me cut and paste some excerpts from the article and you will see what I mean.

“General Tso’s chicken was made with steamed chicken instead of fried – which is not authentically Chinese, and simply “weird,” one student bellyached in the Oberlin Review.

       Others were up in arms over banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches served with coleslaw instead of pickled vegetables, and on ciabatta bread, rather than the traditional French baguette. “It was ridiculous,” gripes Diep Nguyen, a freshman who is a Vietnam native.

       Worse, the sushi rice was undercooked in a way that was, according to one student, “disrespectful” of her culture. Tomoyo Joshi, a junior from Japan, was highly offended by this flagrant violation of her rice. “If people not from that heritage take food, modify it and serve it as ‘authentic,’ it is appropriative,” she said.

       Oberlin’s black student union joined in the fray this month by staging a protest outside Afrikan Heritage House, an on-campus dorm. The cafeteria there wasn’t serving enough vegan and vegetarian options and had failed to make fried chicken a permanent feature on the Sunday night menu, the school newspaper reported. Those students started a petition that also recommends the reduction of cream used in dishes, because “black American food doesn’t have much cream in it,” according to the Review.

       The Nevada-based Universal Society of Hinduism joined the food fight last week after students discovered that the traditional Indian dish, tandoori, contained beef. “Consuming beef was considered sacrilegious among Hindus,” blasted society president Rajan Zed, the Chronical-Telegram reported.

Campus dietitian Michele Gross told the Review this week the first meeting between college officials and dyspeptic students went well, and changes are being implemented to address all concerns.”  NY Post December 18, 2015 .

Director of Marketing - Bob Hibler

Well, here is what I think. Tough Sh-t. These kids are spoiled rotten, they don’t know what hardship is and how they rationalize that food is politically incorrect is enough to make me splutter. Kowtowing to these whining crybabies is only making matters worse.  I don’t know about you but I was glad just to go to the University of South Carolina. It was cheaper for me as an out of state resident than going to Rutgers, a lot cheaper. Even so, if I did not have student loans from the Teaneck Student Loan Association and a full time job after school hours, I would not have been able to go. One year I worked at South Carolina Bank, reconciling check batches the machines would shred. My day started at 5:00 pm, after the bank closed and I left when the work was done, sometimes just in time to go to class at 8:00 AM. I kept No Doz in business.  I paid my way and I paid the borrowed money  back.

As a student I was usually hungry and sometimes Mom and Dad would send me a five pound fruitcake. Anything else was fair game for my co-students but my fruitcake was safe under my bed, no one but me, sort of, wanted it.

Originally, I signed up for the Slater Food Service Cafeteria Plan for three meals a day. They served meat dishes for lunch and dinner, well we thought it was meat.  Anyway, it was a patty, sort of oval, somewhat tenderized with a mallet and had gristle chunks. When  covered in tomato sauce and cheese it was billed as Veal Parmigiana, with brown gravy and mushrooms it was Beef Steak Marsala, when dipped in batter and fried with a garnish of lemon slices it was Chicken Piccata, same meat, different day. And we ate it. When served up on the plate it did not matter if the stewed okra touched the mashed potatoes, either. Food was food and we ate  to get on with the day. It beat the fruitcake.

This PC crap has got to stop, it needs to begin with us. Never grow a wishbone where a backbone ought to be.

Happy New Year,
bob-hibler-signature

 

Editor, Politically Incorrect and POed

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I did not expect this to happen so soon

I did not expect this to happen so soon

My passport was expiring. I have no plans to leave the country but with the way things are going, I may want to so I decided to renew it.  The process is simple, you go online, fill out the form, print it and send it in with a photo, the old passport and $110. What I needed was the photo. After getting a haircut I went to Bergen County Camera where they take pictures and spoke to a young lady about it, she looked like maybe 20 but nowadays everyone is starting to look young. Anyway, she got out the camera, took several shots to make sure I wasn’t smiling, that my pupils could be seen, that my head size matched the template and number four was just right. She asked what I thought and I told her it was perfect, I was a dead ringer for George Clooney. I got a blank stare and then she said, “George Clooney? He must be before my time.” Continue reading

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Should Rename Month

Some years ago, back when I covered North America (San Juan to San Francisco and Canada to Mexico) for another company, I found myself south of the border in Mexico City. The date was November second or  Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. My host was the manager of the company branch office I was visiting and he asked if I was familiar with the occasion. By pleading ignorance (and I was), he said he would show me. We drove to the Panteón Civil de Dolores,  the largest cemetery in Mexico City. The first thing I noticed were the flower vendors, selling blooms by the armfuls to people entering the grounds. We followed and it was amazing.   Graves were covered with flowers but more than that, there were bands of musicians serenading the dead, bottles of beer, wine and booze were on headstones with glasses filled for toasting with lots of  food  for snacking. People were having a wonderful time with their departed loved ones. It was a joyous celebration and a sight to behold.
Back at home, in the same month and day, we Catholics, among some other churches, have a more somber observance to honor and pray for our dead. Each year my Knights of Columbus Council has a special All Souls Day mass where the names of our departed Brothers are read. I must say that the list continues to grow as does the length of the service!
Towards the end of the month, on the fourth Thursday, we all stop  for Thanksgiving. For some it is a time for binge eating but the name of the date is THANKSGIVING.  Most people I know do say a prayer of gratitude  for the blessings we have. We should enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were big things.
The eleventh month of the year should be changed from November to Remember for that is what we do.
May God continue to look after us all!

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Wacker Neuson ST-45 Compact Track Loader

Wacker Neuson ST-45 Compact Track Loader

Wacker Neuson ST45 Track Steer Loader

 

Wacker Neuson’s first entries in the crowded North American skid steer loader market include two skid steers and two compact track loaders powered by a 74-hp Perkins Tier 4 Final diesel engine with maintenance-free exhaust after treatment. All units feature standard two-speed transmission and are available in both H-Pattern and ISO joystick pilot controls.

ST 35: radial-lift compact track loader; 3,500 lb. rated operating capacity; 125 in. lift height
ST 45: vertical-lift skid steer; 4,500 lb. rated operating capacity; 134 in. lift height
Hydraulically driven fan operates only as needed, allowing faster engine warm-up times and reduced noise.

Wacker Neuson ST-45 Summary

The ST 45 vertical lift compact track loader delivers high operating capacity and extended lift height, making it ideal for digging and loading. The ST 45 delivers 4,500 pounds of operating capacity at 50% and a lift height up to 134 inches. The machine is powered by a 74.3 hp turbo-charged Perkins Tier IV Final engine. The ST 45 is available in both H-Pattern and ISO joystick pilot controls. The ergonomically designed controls and pressurized cab provides comfort and visibility, reducing operator fatigue and increasing productivity.

  • Standard two-speed transmission reduces travel time on job sites giving the operator more time throughout the day to get more tasks completed.
  • Spacious extended cab maximizes room and comfort for the operator to move inside the cab.
  • Optional high flow hydraulics increases the range of usable attachments improving efficiency and productivity.
  • Quick and easy service access from the forward tilting cab and the arrangement of internal components makes it easy to maintain this machine.
  • Hydraulically driven fan operates on an as-needed basis allowing faster warm-up times of the engine and significantly reducing noise.

 Rental Rate on Wacker ST-45 – $400.00 daily,  $1,200.00 Weekly,  $3,600.00 monthly

Rental Charges are based on an 8 hour day, 40 hour week, 160 hour month. Double shift rates are 1.5X the single shift charge, triple shift rates are 2X the single shift charge. Items marked with an “F” are subject to extra pick up and delivery charges. Routine maintenance (such as changing oil and filters) is the Renter’s responsibility. Call Gamka for items not listed, our rental inventory does fluctuate!

Purchase Price of Current unit in stock – Wacker ST-45 – 5200015597 5* ST45 Skid Steer,Vertical CTL (Compact Track Loader), Comfort Cab, ISO-Pattern Controls, Universal Skid Plate is $59,750.00 + inbound freight, dealer prep, taxes, and bucket.

ST 45 Vertical Lift Compact Track Loader    ST 45 side

ST 45 in action

Technical specifications

ST 45

Operating data

Height top of ROPS 82 in
Overall length w/ bucket 144 in
Overall length w/o bucket 116 in
Height Hinge Pin Max 134 in
Operating weight 10,245 lb
Rated Operating Capacity 50% 4,500 lb
Rated Operating Capacity 35% 3,150 lb
Length of track on ground 63 in
Dumping height at max height 107.1 in
Tipping angle (Bucket dump) w/bucket at max 38 °
Ground clearance 9.5 in
Width w/o bucket 78 in
Width track 17.7 in

Engine / Motor

Engine / Motor Turbo-Charged Perkins 854 Tier 4 Final
Engine performance 74.3 hp
Tank capacity Fuel 24.3 US gal

Hydraulic system

Auxiliary Hydraulics- Standard Flow 22.5 US gpm
Auxiliary Hydraulics- High Flow 36 US gpm
Pressure Aux. relief 3,338 psi

Power transmission

Travel speed Low 4.3 mph
Travel speed High 8.7 mph

 

Standard components

  • Vertical Lift Arm
  • Perkins, 4 stroke, 74.3HP turbo charged diesel engine, Tier 4 Final compliant
  • 17.7 in- (450mm) wide Bridgestone tracks with 1,000 hour prorated warranty
  • Rexroth ® Hydrostatic Pump and drive motor
  • Available in H-Pattern or ISO Controls joystick pilot controls
  • 2-Speed transmission with top speed of 4.3 mph (low-speed) and 8.7 mph (high-speed)
  • Spring-applied, hydraulic released wet-disc parking brakes
  • Hydraulic universal skid steer quick-hitch system for attachments
  • Front Auxiliary Hydraulics with flat face couplers
  • Arm Float Position
  • Adjustable spring suspension comfort seat with seat belt
  • Foot and Manual Throttle
  • Front and Rear work lights
  • ROPS Level I compliant canopy
  • Lexan Safety Roof
  • Back up alarm
  • 12-Volt Power Accessory
  • Seat Belt
  • Isolated Pressurized Cab*
  • Automotive style HVAC system*
  • Easy-to-Access side windows*
  • Radio-Ready

*Available on Cab units only

Options

  • Hydraulic Coupler
  • Enclosed Pressurized Cab, Heat, Air Conditioning
  • Engine Block Heater
  • One Way Hydraulic Bucket Leveling
  • Ride Control
  • Radio
  • Adjustable High Flow
  • 14 Pin Front Electric Attachment Control

 

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When in Doubt Mumble

When in Doubt      Mumble

RONALD REAGAN SAID, “TRUST BUT VERIFY.”  

IT IS STILL GREAT ADVICE.

       A group of friends from the local Church wanted to get together on a regular basis, socialize, and play games. The lady of the house was to prepare the meal.

When it came time for Al and Janet to be the hosts, Janet wanted to outdo all the others. She decided to have mushroom-smothered steak. But mushrooms are expensive. She then told her husband, “No mushrooms. They are too expensive.”

He said, “Why don’t you go down in the pasture and pick some of those mushrooms? There’s plenty in the creek bed.”

She said, “No, some wild mushrooms are poison.”

He said, “Well, I see wild animals eating them and they’re OK.”

So Janet decided to give it a try. She picked a bunch, washed, sliced,  and diced them for her smothered steak. Then she went out on the back porch and gave Ol’ Spot (the yard dog) a double handful. Ol’ Spot ate every bite. All morning long, Janet watched Ol’ Spot and the wild mushrooms didn’t seem to affect him, so she decided to use them.

The meal was a great success. Janet even hired a helper lady from town to help her serve. After everyone had finished, they relaxed, socialized, and played ’42’ and dominoes. About then, the helper lady came in and whispered in Janet’s ear.

She said, “Mrs. Williams, Ol’ Spot is dead.”

Janet went into hysterics. After she finally calmed down, she called the doctor and told him what had happened.

The doctor said, “That’s bad, but I think we can take care of it. I will call for an ambulance and I will be there as quickly as possible. We’ll give everyone enemas and we will pump out everyone’s stomach. Everything  will be fine. Just keep them calm.”

Soon they could hear the siren as the ambulance was coming down the road. The EMTs and the doctor had their suitcases, syringes, and a stomach pump. One by one, they took each person into the bathroom, gave them an enema and pumped out their stomach.

After the last one was finished, the doctor came out and said, “I think everything will be fine now,” and he left.

They were all looking pretty weak sitting around the living room and about this time the helper lady came in and whispered to Janet, “You know that fella that run over Ol’ Spot never even stopped.”

Alright, it is another story I glommed off the internet but, especially today, too many people jump to conclusions without having all the facts. Remember your grandparents telling you “Haste makes waste”, “Look before you leap”, “Act in haste, repent at leisure”? It is even truer today when smoldering ashes are doused in gasoline to create a conflagration by the media and agent provocateurs, too often way out of proportion to reality. Then the moment passes and the damage is done. It is always easier to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube than to get it back in.

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Trouble Arises

George Phillips, an elderly man from Walled Lake, Michigan, was  going up to bed, when his wife told him that he’d left the light on in  the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. George opened the back door to go turnoff the light, but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things.

He phoned the police, who asked “Is someone in your house?”

He said “No,” but some people are breaking into my garden shed and stealing from me.”
Then the police dispatcher said “All patrols are busy, you should lock your doors and an officer will be along when one is available”

George said, “Okay.”   He hung up the phone and counted to 30. Then he phoned the police again. “Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I just shot and killed them both; the dogs are eating them right now,” and he hung up.
Within  five minutes, six Police Cars, a SWAT Team, a Helicopter, two Fire Trucks, a Paramedic and an Ambulance showed up at the Phillips’  residence, and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the  Policemen said to George, “I thought you said that you’d shot  them!”

George said, “I thought you said there was nobody available!”

OK, maybe it isn’t a true story, even if I did get it off the Internet. The point of this editorial is just to point out that when you are in trouble, you and everyone else calls the police.

Back when I was just a kid, (a long time ago), my parents taught me that the policeman was my friend. When he walked his beat, he would twirl his nightstick. Of course, today, he has some sort of a big gun with a lot more bullets and maybe a taser. No more twirling nowadays. That is fine with me, the better he (or she) is outfitted, the safer we both are.
My parents are long gone, but not the memory of what they told me.

Sincerely,

bob-hibler-signature

Kerfuffle Editor

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Too Much Political Correctness Will Kill Us

Color me confused. How long have we  been told  that the sordid practice of profiling is wrong, wrong, wrong? So instead of pulling people out of the line to go through airport security because they look like they might fit a known pattern for terrorists, the  wheelchair bound Grandma gets strip searched, all 85 lbs. of her. Better that someone like the underwear or shoe bomber gets through than offend anyone. Of course the victims of a terrorist strike should feel vexed but apparently they were wrong.

And then I read this in a December 10th news story: “President Obama made it illegal this week for federal law enforcement agencies to profile US citizens. People will no longer be stopped for the way they look or for the religion they practice… unless they’re going through an airport or a border checkpoint. Federal law enforcement is no longer allowed to single people out based on their national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation. But TSA, customs and border patrol still can because they’re exempt from these bans…. Attorney General Eric Holder received push-back from TSA and Homeland Security while devising these guidelines. The agents profile to maximize national security and try to keep America free from outside threats. President Obama’s new guidelines also don’t apply to local and state police. He hopes these agencies will naturally follow suit. However, this could confuse people since most of us only deal with local law enforcement.”  If it looks like a terrorist, smells like a terrorist and feels like a terrorist, it probably is.

Well, maybe there is reason to hope for a small bit of sense in Washington, who knew? Aren’t there groups out there who are determined to kill us Americans for our freedom loving way of life? Should that  not work out right away for them, there are plenty of Christians, school children to kidnap or shoot and journalists to behead in the rest of the world.

Then along comes the Diane Feinstein Report on Torture, I mean Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. Imagine, making people go without sleep for 48 hours. I did that in college to study for finals. Or being in a confined space with bugs.  Allow me to tell you about a motel I stayed in once. Let us not forget waterboarding, something that dozens of journalists and our Special Forces have gone through just to experience it.  Do any of them have any marks or scars? Not quite like pulling off fingernails is it? She said, “We got no information”, Jose Rodriguez said, “We did.”  Call me heartless, but when there are thousands, maybe millions of radical extremists who have sworn to wipe my nation and me off the earth, I prefer to be sure we do everything to prevent it from happening.

Could I go on? Well yes, right in our own back yard, just across the Hudson. The Commissioner of the NY Fire Department, Daniel Nigro,  noticed that women were sorely under represented in the ranks. Nearly all of the firefighters were men! Men, strong enough to carry a fire hose into a burning building and to carry me out. Well, Diversity won out and standards have been lowered to let more women in the NYFD and Public Safety be damned.  Do I have any objection to women firefighters, not in the least, but only if they can do the job. This is not about quotas, it is about lives.   But, silly me, I am obviously not thinking straight. So please don’t share my thoughts with anyone, if it gets out, I may be sent for reprogramming at  the Politically Correct  Ideology Camp for Dissidents.

I will have lots of company.

See you there?
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THE RIFLE: An Inspirational Story

DON’T START READING THIS UNTIL YOU HAVE SOME KLEENEX HANDY.

IT ARRIVED ANONYMOUSLY AND WILL WARM YOUR HEART!

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or for those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.

It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving. It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted so badly that year for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. 

So after supper was over, I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace, waiting for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible; instead he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though; I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.

Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, but, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. 

But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up, put my boots back on, and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what. 

Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short or quick or little job, I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. 

The cold was already biting at me, and I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain and all fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something.

“Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?” 

“You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what? “Yeah,” I said, “Why?” “I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.” That was all he said. 

He then turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading and went to the smokehouse where he took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. 

When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. “What’s in the little sack?” I asked. “Shoes. They’re out of shoes. Little Jakey just had gunnysacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy. 

“We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern. 

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house, unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, and took the meat and flour and shoes around to the front door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” “Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt. Could we come in for a bit?” Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. 

Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp. “We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. 

She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out. “We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and, as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes, too. In my mind, I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak. 

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people. I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy, and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. 

She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.” In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it, I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. 

I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought on it. Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. 

I could see that they missed their pa, and I was glad that I still had mine. At the door, Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get you about eleven. It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away. Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you”. Out on the sled, I felt warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. 

When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday, a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that. But on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunnysacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent your rifle money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.” I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. 

Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me a lot more. He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children. For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensen family, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night; he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

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DO YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO USE A CHAINSAW

DO YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO USE A CHAINSAW

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