A question I have struggled all my life with. “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”

My father was a woodchuck you see. From birth to the day he died in that tragic accident he would tell stories of how great a woodchuck he was. I never saw him chuck any wood though, not a single piece. Mainly because he never had any wood, in fact, he was against tree cutting. He loved trees you see, wanted them to have rights and the ability to own property. He would go on and on about how they had feelings, and not even to save his own life would he cut one. A tree hugger to the core and to this date I have never seen a man with so much dedication. He even ordered the workers who constructed our home to use not even a single log.

So you see now why I struggled with this question. My dad a woodchuck, but never had he chucked even a splinter of wood. I would think on and on, how much wood could he chuck if he had the capacity? Would he ever chuck wood, would I ever know the answer? Unfortunately I found out that fateful day when I was eleven.

It was a crisp winter eve when the fire broke out and our home was engulfed in flames. I never figured out how it broke out. My father grabbed me and ran but our avenue to escape was blocked when the roof collapsed. My father was stunned for the material blocking our exit was wood. How did this wood get into the house? I don’t know, maybe the builders used my father’s advice more as a guideline than a rule and took some liberties. I saw my dad’s axe on the wall and urged him to cut us out, but he did not. He would not cut wood, not even a chuck.

The fire was growing and our time was shrinking, I kept telling him to chuck but he simply would not. Finally he noticed it, a hole in the wall but one too small for him. He grabbed me and pushed me through, leaving himself inside and me to watch.

I think back on this story now and the sacrifice he made for his beliefs and all I can think is I will never know the answer. Even in the face of death he would never reveal how much wood, him a woodchuck, could chuck.