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Killing Grandpa Ott


I have been trying to kill Grandpa Ott, known affectionately around here as Gramps, for twenty years. We brought him here from Decorah, Iowa, having no idea that he would live so long, or be such a pain the metaphorical arse. I have tried poison, knives, my bare hands, everything shy of a gun, and if I had one of those I might consider using it. Nothing has worked and he has seriously overstayed his welcome.

In the spring we are typically too busy to deal with him and live in some level of denial, knowing he is there, lurking about. When spring gives way to the sweet days of summer, we get all misty eyed with nostalgia and think, oh, he really is a charmer. Come late summer though, he is not so attractive, hanging on everything for support and knocking down other, more desirable family members. He has a tendency to strangle anything in sight as well.

I have enlisted help this spring; hired a hit man. He’s a neighborhood tough who has seen things. Knows people. And he’s always looking for a fast buck. He has a picture of Gramps and he’s being paid well to kill him on sight. And he’s pretty shrewd for a six-year-old. Renegotiated the deal after discovering that Gramps was a tough old bird.

“I may hafta get thum friends to help,” Parker lisped through the gap in his front teeth. Alright, I said, handing him another dollar, “as long as he’s really dead this time.”

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I have lost four 12-15 foot tall white pine trees over the last year. All had the same symptoms, browning needles at the bottom that continued up to the top. Can you tell me what pest is killing the white pines? I am also losing an Austrian pine now. It is experiencing the same symptoms.

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