He used to like to show me the houses he had built and the places he had logged as we drove around. He pointed out the snakey hillsides and the route of the milk truck when he drove it. He showed me a place where the skidder had broken down. He looked for deer and turkeys. His continual lament was that he couldn’t work like he used to, that he wasn’t “allowed” to use a chain saw anymore. Or, on the other side of it, that he had missed seeing his kids grow up because he worked all the time. That he was so tired.
What Francis liked best was to drive up to “The Hill”—the farm where his wife Marjorie had grown up. It is in Rock Valley, not far from Long Eddy. It is a wild and beautiful place—the kind of place in which he was most at home.