As he grew older – now in his mid-seventies – Ernest had a preoccupation each summer: to chop up enough firewood for the following two winters so that if he were to pass on then Polly his wife would have enough firewood to keep warm for at least two winters. It wasn’t a silly idea. He dreaded the thought that his dear widow should suffer from cold. Finances would be stretched. If the worst came to the worst she could cook on the log-burner as well as heat the house. The firewood was an insurance of sorts.
Ernest knew the likelihood that he would go first. Polly was fit as a fiddle. He suffered from breathlessness and a mild diabetes. Husbands often (usually) predeceased their spouses. Chopping wood for winter was thoughtful and practical. The wood shed was full to overflowing as autumn closed its curtains.
These thoughts occupied Ernest each day as he went out to get enough firewood for the evening. He appreciated his foresight. He just wished he didn’t have to do it alone.