Mad Russian

This weekend, me and XY and the dog are hanging out, and there’s an unexpected knock at the door.

We tend to be hermits in our off hours, so unless we are expecting visitors or callers, we’re inclined to just not answer. Through the curtain we see the outline of a hard hat and a wild bushy beard. We look at each other and shrug. Dog barks a few times and gets bored. Knocker goes away.

But he lingers on our sidewalk so we take a closer look. An older man, he is riding a bicycle, wearing that hard hat, and wielding a pair of hedge clippers.

On our grape vines.

WTF? XY goes out to see what’s up. (Yet another WTF as far as I’m concerned.) The guy starts yelling at him in Russian. By mad Russian, I mean angry, not crazy. Although maybe crazy too.

Through wild gesticulation and a few words of English in common, XY determines that the guy didn’t like the way we were training our grapes. (Or not training, as the case may be; I subscribe to the amok school of vineyard maintenance.) So for twenty minutes, they’re out there whacking at the grapes with the guy explaining (in mad Russian) how to do it right next year.

I used the fact I was still in my writing clothes (a.k.a. pajamas) at noon as an excuse to not go outside to oversee the whackage. Instead I did what writers do, which is imagine:

  • How I would disarm a mad Russian wielding hedge clippers should the need arise.
  • Why the Russian was so mad about how we’d not trained our grapes: was he an Old World vintner displaced from his vines by the Cold War? But that’s a sad story.
  • Who would feed me lunch if XY (whose Sunday beard was looking a little wild too) ran off with the mad Russian. At least that has the potential to be a happy ending.

Meanwhile, the grapes look great. Like all ideas, I hope they’ll bear wonderful fruit come summer.


6 thoughts on “Mad Russian

  1. Wow! What a story. His holiday gift to you is to train your vines so they actually bear fruit. Cool! As for the story, this sounds like something you could send to Reader’s Digest for one of their Life in these United States short sections. Except I think they don’t do that anymore.


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