To Split with Reckless Abandon

Sometime after my father returned from WWII with his two purple hearts, he was helping his father to split eucalyptus for firewood. 

A couple of things to understand about eucalyptus wood:

  • The hydraulic log splitter had yet to be developed
  • Eucalyptus wood is nearly impossible to spit due to the fibrous nature of the grain in the wood.  Even if you manage to split the log you still have to rip the fibers apart to get a clean break.

So, my grandad went to local hardware store and bought a few sticks of dynamite out of the opened box.

Think of that. Imagine walking into the store today and buying a couple bricks of C4.

C4…from the hardware store.

He took his explosive loot back home, drilled holes in the eucalyptus wood and inserted the dynamite. The hole was then covered with a chunk of concrete with just the fuse sticking out. This was meant to contain the explosion. After lighting the fuse, everyone ran – except my granddad.

My father, the Purple Heart Veteran, ran several yards away and crouched down behind the old Model T. As well he should have.

 My granddad walked a few feet away to stand behind a sapling of a tree. 

Then came the explosion. 

One piece of the wood tore the staircase clear off the tank house. 

Another piece went through the wall of the shop. 

It took my Granddad two weeks to repair the damage. 

And the Cement chunk? 

Well, it flew over the peak of the house and landed on the roof opposite the explosion. 

When the dust settled my Grandfather was laughing loudly and said, “Well, I guess I used enough dynamite!”

Now, inside of the house was my blind grandmother.  A couple of things happened here:

First, she heard the explosion. Then the entire shop shook from the destruction of the wall where the staircases were attached to tank house. Then a giant BOOM as the cement landed on top of the ceiling above her. 

Understandably shocked, she walked out the back door and yelled “PA! PA!!” only to hear her spouse of what would miraculously be 67 years, laughing hysterically at the entire ordeal.

In this office, you will happy to know that we have been explosion free for 15,330 days and counting. I’ve learned.