This story could just about be a “part #2” to my last offering, “More Adventures in Retirement,” as the bulk of that story was centered around a chainsaw I acquired. Well, during the week, I had been taking things slowly, as I was still feeling a fair amount of pain in my right shoulder. Still, I was consternating about what I could attempt with this new battery-powered saw.
A few nights had gone by, and as our tenants were leaving the property, The daughter said, ‘Do you know about that downed tree branch on the carport roof?’ There was my excuse for pulling out the battery-powered chainsaw and giving it a “little” test. My wife and I walked over to the carport in question, and there it was. A large portion of an old oak tree had decided to separate from the tree, and it was at least 30 feet long, with the diameter of the branch at the break being at least 6 inches. I told my wife, Cecelia, that it would have to wait until the next morning, and I could swear that I heard her mutter in a tone barely loud enough for me to hear, “And how is that bad arm healing?”
The morning of the 20th (Wednesday) started out slow, but by 9:30, I had the old utility trailer hooked to the Dodge and brought it around to the carport area within five feet of where the tree was. I attempted to go up our ladder and hook the end of the branch with an extension paint pole with a garden hoe strapped to the end of it. The bulk of the weight of the branch was pushing on the carport roof, about 12 feet in from where I was pulling on the branch base. It quickly showed me that I had underestimated my work. The metal end of that hoe that I had lodged in between two branches came apart from its handle. (Go figure)! My next attempt was just as eventful, with a similar conclusion. I took that same paint extension pole and tied a large saltwater fish lure to it (thinking that the 80lb test braided line would work well at pulling the branch to the edge of the roof). It pulled the branch about two feet, and then that broke. So, now I have a garden hoe head AND a large fish lure stuck to it!
I finally ended up crawling out to where the branch was and attached a rope to it. Now, once back on the ground, being as the right shoulder was (and for some reason, still is) very tender, I had my wife latch on to the rope behind me. The branch started to move, but I swear, that thing felt like it was every bit of 400 lbs.! Finally, the part of the tree branch that was still being held up (by another oak tree) let loose and came down with a thud. We pulled again, and the branch came partially off the roof and planted itself into the dirt next to me. Where it was stopped on the roof, we had it almost balanced, with hardly any weight where I needed to start cutting.
The new chainsaw was finally pulled out, and it did all the work that I needed it to do. I cut the first eight feet of the branch that I could safely get to, and Cecelia helped me lift the pieces into the trailer. We just needed one more good pull of the rope to get the remaining limb onto the ground. Once again, I asked my wife to lend a hand on the rope. I did not specify the extent of force of pull that would be needed at this time, and things got a little sketchy real quick. We both started pulling the rope, and she must have thought that there would be hundreds of pounds of tree still there. That section of the branch (still at least 15 feet long) started quickly coming off of the roof. It came down so fast that it planted itself almost completely vertically, and then it took a weird twist as the last of the smaller branches were clearing the building. I looked up at this big piece of gnarled tree as it was looking to complete its maneuver and noticed that Cecelia was right in the projected new path of the fall. I hollered, “MOVE!” as the branches were getting closer to where she was standing. The whole thing seemed to happen in slow motion as whatever chemical cranks up the adrenaline in the blood was kicking in.
Cecelia stepped forward about two feet, and the tree looked like it was going to get her. Then, in a stroke of providence (and it really seemed like “His” providing), half of the tree came down, just missing her on the left side, and the other branch of the fork missed her right side by less than a foot. (Wow)! She could not have placed herself in any better spot in the time she had to make her move. Once we both got our composures, the new chainsaw was brought back out, and we filled the trailer in quick order.
Before pulling away from the area, I inspected the rest of the tree. There is only one branch showing any green leaves on it (out of the half dozen branches still remaining on the tree). Those are telling me that if left to “Mother Nature and Father Time,” I will be hauling more than just tree debris on the next go-round. The shoulder will be given time to heal, and plans will be made to drop the rest of that old oak tree. It will be just another adventure in retirement! Y’all have a blessed week!