Posted 10-17-2003 at 22:30:44
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A gambrel, or a single-tree, is a device used to hoist a large animal up by the rear legs so that it can be properely skinned and cleaned in preparation to put it in the freezer. It is a tool that is invaluable when cleaning a deer or a hog. Once attached to the animal, it can be hooked to a come-a-long suspended from a beam in the ceiling and then cranked up to the right height with very little effort. So, two very important tools. The gambrel and the come-a-long.
Our gambrel has been missing for two months. It's a simple thing, kind of looks like a large coat hanger made out of tubular metal about 3/8 of an inch in diameter. My son Jake has tried every type of replacement you can think of, and cleaned the wild hog he got on Monday using a series of ropes to lift the animal and then more ropes to seperate the two back legs, trying to get the same position that the gambrel would provide.
He has also been asking me for two months.
"Where's the gambrel?"
This is the equivalent of me asking him where the turkey baster is, but I gave it a good old American try.
"I don't use it son, but I just imagine if it's like everything else, it's where ever you used it last."
"I used it in the shed. It's not in there. I looked already."
"Where in the shed did you look?"
"I looked on the wall, I looked in the tool box and on top of the freezer, I looked all over."
"Pfffft." I said. "Look on the ground."
He just rolled his eyes.
The shed has a dirt floor. The top two inches is a sandy type soil and even though I hadn't looked I knew without a doubt that the gambrel was buried in the dirt right under where he hung the hog the last time he used it.
His dad asked him to try and get another hog to take to the hunt club this weekend so he went out Wednesday afternoon and sure enough, he got another hog. I went back to the woods with him in the truck to get it. When we got backed up to the shed, he asked me again...
"You know where the gambrel is yet?" Blink. Blink.
"I've always known where it was, I told you already. It's where you used it last."
"You ALWAYS say that SAME thing!" He slapped his knee for emphasis.
"Yep, and you have YET to LISTEN!"
I went in the house and left him stubbornly slinging ropes all over the place, preparing to use the same tactic he used the last time. I had no intentions of going out there and digging for it for him.
I made him a glass of iced tea and brought it and a fresh light bulb out for him, and sat down on the tailgate of the truck, watching him heave and hoist the hog up to get it in position. Being a teenage boy with a size thirteen foot and about half lazy, he drags his feet and while walking towards me to get his tea, he unearthed the gambrel. Truth be told he about tripped and broke his fool neck.
I didn't say a word, and neither did he. He just looked immensely releived that he once again had the right tool for the job. I helped him get the hog on it and hoisted up. Finally he broke the silence.
"If you've known for two months where this thing was why didn't you get it?"
"Because if I had come out here and dug it out for you two months ago, you would not have appreciated me OR it. By going without it for two months you learned to appreciate it, and now that you have proof that I occasionally know what I'm talking about, maybe you will appreciate ME, and the next time I tell you where to look maybe you'll at least give it a try. If you had done that two months ago, you would have had it then, right? When are you going to learn? You never put anything away and you are the only one who pays for that sloppiness."
He pursed his lips and didn't say anything.
"Now if you're smart, when you're done with it this time, you'll take two seconds and hang it on that nail right there on the wall. Then the next time you need it, you'll know right where to look."
"Yeah, well, whatever...." Mumble grumble.
I went out this afternoon to feed and just for grins I checked, and there was the gambrel hanging on the nail on the wall, right where I'd told him to put it. I almost got excited until I saw the come-a-long laying about half covered with dirt a few feet away from where he'd last used it. Here we go again. (smile)