Have An Axe To Grind


Hey Mike, you’ve got to get yourself an axe. Everyone around here has an axe, and all the men chop their own wood for their fires. I know you’re new here, you probably don’t know how to do any of that sort of stuff, but I can help you get started in the beginning.

Well, I did exactly what Joe told me to. I went out, found an axe at the corner store, and brought it back in my new—well, new to me—Chevy Silverado. I’m new to the area and let me just say, it’s a lot harder to meet people up here in the wilderness. If it weren’t for my wife, Lisa, I don’t think I would’ve met any of our neighbors until the snow melted—and who knows when that might be? We just moved up here to Elk Rapids, and it’s much more isolated than either one of us expected.

Lisa met Joe’s wife at the market in Traverse City, Michigan, about 20 miles South of our town. They got to talking and I guess Joe’s wife sensed our awkward struggle to adjust to life up here in Northern Michigan, and the very next day both Joe and his wife showed up at our door with some treats from the Elk Rapids Sweet Shop. After they’d come in and warmed up, the women left Joe and I in the kitchen so we could “talk shop”, or whatever they call it.

Joe gave me lots of advice about the lifestyle of Northern Michigan, especially about how to beat the bone-chilling cold. He offered to help me sharpen the blade of my axe once I’d bought one, and all I had to do was stop by his house. Our guests— our new friends—left and Lisa and I felt a lot better about our new life together. I bought an axe two days later, and I couldn’t wait to see Joe again and to learn a couple more “tricks of the trade”.

Well, it’s been four weeks since I bought that axe and I still haven’t heard back from Joe. I’ve tried to catch him at his house, at the market, at the nearest bait store, Butch’s Tackle and Marine, but I haven’t had any luck running into him. I thought I saw him a couple weeks ago at the Work Boots Superstore, but when I called out to him, the man just briskly walked away.

At first, I thought this was a common problem in a small town like Elk Rapids, but I now realize that Joe’s been avoiding me this entire time. What a guy! He offers to help, then the second you try to take him up on the offer, he goes out of his way not to see you. I’m very frustrated, and frankly, I’m a little hurt by the whole ordeal. I talked to Lisa and she’s encouraged me to talk to Joe about it and let him know that I have a problem with the way he’s been avoiding me. I don’t like confrontation, but it seems like—


As he wrote, Mike looked out the window and he almost couldn’t believe his eyes. Out in the snow, walking through the forest on the West side of his house, he spotted Joe. Mike knew it was him because of his red-brown jacket, and his navy, fur-lined hat. As Mike fumbled to grab his own hat and jacket, he ran outside to the shed to grab his axe before headed into the woods to find Joe. Mike saw him through some trees and yelled, “Hey, Joe! Wait up, will ya? I’ve got an axe to grind with you, buddy!”


Put A Sock In It

put a sock in it

“Make it stop,” the man commanded. His wife looked up at him, her heart beating faster with each passing moment.

“I can’t,” she admitted quietly with a quivering voice. She cleared her throat and repeated her confession, a bit louder. “I can’t.”

“What do you mean you can’t,” the husband asked in a steady, stern tone. He had to remain calm, had to keep the situation under control. His head was throbbing in time with his heartbeat. He could feel a migraine coming on and the piercing screams in the room were certainly not helping.

She could sense her husband’s patience running low. The wife panicked, her eyes darting around the room desperately as she looked for something to quiet the cries of the baby. She was in trouble; she didn’t know how to make it stop crying or what it wanted.

“I… I don’t know how,” she managed to stutter. She was sweating profusely, though it wasn’t any hotter than usual in their small studio apartment. Her breathing was short and shallow as she watched her husband’s face turn a deeper, darker shade of red. It looked almost purple and the vein in his forehead was bulging.

He clenched his jaw, grinding his teeth while he looked around the room. “Why don’t just put something in its mouth? Just put a sock in it,” he screamed, his voice booming over the cries. If she didn’t shut that baby up in the next ten seconds he was going to lose it.

She grabbed the nearest sock and shoved it in the baby’s mouth, instantly dulling the cries. She had to admit, she was in a little over her head. This whole kidnapping a baby thing was turning out to be more than she’d bargained for.

To Make A Long Story Short

To Make a L

“Did you pick up some cookies on your way home from work, hun?” Linda asked her husband when he walked into the kitchen with his briefcase.

“Well,” Harvey began, “the strangest thing happened on my way to the store. I was driving past Old Mrs. Jenkins’ house, you know, the one with the little white fence and the dark green shutters? Anyway, as I was passing it I glanced over and saw her door was open. Now it’s not like her to leave a door open, so I thought it was a little weird that she’d been so careless about her door—her front door for that matter!

“So I kept driving for another half block or so, but I couldn’t get her off my mind. I mean of all the doors she could’ve left open, what were the chances she left her front door open? Anyway, I pulled into a driveway and turned around and went back to Mrs. Jenkins’ house—just to make sure everything was okay. So I get there and I walk up to the front door and I knock and call for her, but she didn’t answer.

“So by this point, I was getting a little panicked, so I pushed the door open and called out to her again, but still no answer. I let myself in and looked all around the house but I couldn’t find her anywhere. I thought, hey, maybe she’s out back by the garden or sitting under that big oak tree reading or something. So I get to the back door and guess what? She’s out there in the garden, watering her flowers and humming to herself and whatnot. I guess her grandkids had just stopped by for a visit and they didn’t pull the door all the way shut when they left.

“Anyway, we chatted for a while and had a little lemonade and she gave me the names of some books she liked and all that. Then I left and headed back here and that was the end of it.”

Linda stared blankly at her husband, not saying a word. Harvey stood there feeling a little uncomfortable — what with his wife staring at him so hard and all. He nervously shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

Finally he stammered, “So, uhh, to make a long story short, no, I did not get the cookies.”

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

don't judge a book by its cover

People always say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but isn’t that exactly what we should do? Imagine you’re in your local bookstore, perusing the aisles for a quality read. You aren’t sure exactly what you’re looking for, but there are hundreds—even thousands—of books in front of you, each one eager to share its story with you.

Do you really have so much extra time on your hands that you’re able to read a few pages from all of the books on the shelf before making your decision? Is there nothing better you could be doing? Like perhaps reading one of those books or heading over to the café section of the bookstore, maybe chatting with the cute barista you noticed when you first walked in?

Since you probably have better things to do than read the summaries of hundreds of books, you might want to save yourself a little time and judge the books by their covers.

You Are What You Eat

“You are what you eat, little Johnny,” his mom warned, waving her perfectly manicured finger through the air.  Her golden brown hair was set in big, loose curls, without a single piece out of place.

Johnny looked up into her big brown eyes, searching for some sign of sarcasm on her face.  She stared back into her young son’s wide eyes, amazed at how much he looked like her.  With a little laugh and a shake of her head, she turned around and went back to her housework in the other room.

Johnny was left alone at the kitchen table, with only the remainder of his dinner in front of him.  He stared at the plate full of carrots and peas.  Johnny didn’t want to be a carrot or a pea; he didn’t want to be bologna or jelly or mashed potatoes.  He certainly didn’t want to be fish sticks or steak.  He didn’t even want to be whatever animal bacon came from!

He wanted to be what he was—a little boy. He looked up and down at his arm, and realized what he needed to do.  Little Johnny made up his mind.  From that moment on he would only eat people, thus ensuring he would always be a little boy.  He would eat what he was and he’d be what he ate.