Some of us don't fall far from the tree

Once again I was reminded that I am more and more like my father. "Honey, there are things about you that remind me of your father that can be rather endearing." And then matter-of-factly my better half added, "This isn't one of those things." Pr...

Once again I was reminded that I am more and more like my father.

"Honey, there are things about you that remind me of your father that can be rather endearing." And then matter-of-factly my better half added, "This isn't one of those things."

Pretty straightforward.

It started when our second daughter and her husband bought a house. They decided that a row of trees alongside their house had to go. About ten clumps of some kind of weed maple had grown old to the point of being hollow -- dangerous in a windstorm. The trunks were huge. Grown together at the base, they formed chunks of wood that were massive. Counting individual trees that formed each clump there had to be about 40 full-size trees to be downed.

We planned a Saturday for it. Surveying the row when we arrived, I wondered if perhaps a couple of weekends would have been better.


I had come prepared with two chain saws of my own, one for trimming and one for cutting. I had also borrowed one from a buddy. It was brand new, never been used, the daddy of all chain saws. There were other chain saws there as well. We were set. Eight or nine of us had gathered to get the job done.

Our son-in-law had rented a 50 foot, "cherry picker" lift. Well, that should come in handy, I thought when I saw it. He also had rope galore. He was well prepared.

It started out fine. As we got into it we ... well, let's just say we figured out that everyone has different ways of approaching tasks.

One of our son-in-laws handled the cherry picker. Now, let me clarify by saying, he's a nice man, love him to death. However we don't tackle things in the same manner. I watched as he figured out the controls, even got a ride from him, that was kind of fun. It looked like it was going to work well initially. It just took a little longer than I thought necessary. A lot of 'figuring things out' before we actually did it. The second son-in-law fits into the same mold. A lot of planning. A lot of considering what might happen if we did it this way. Is there a better way of doing it? Should we maybe think about trying this first?

I've never been good at planning. I'm not real great at considering. I'm more of a let's do it and if it doesn't work we'll fix what we broke kind of guy.

I was patient as they navigated the basket to each correct spot. I waited as they contemplated the best kind of knot to use in tying the rope. I nervously looked around as the other seven people stood waiting when they could be working. I began to twitch. Out of the side of my mouth I said, "It's going to take all day for this one tree." They started cutting lengths of trees from the top. The theory was to take them down a bit at a time. On one of the attempts, a cut section fell too close and pulled the chain saw right out of the cutter's hand. I watched the daddy-of-all chain saws, the new one, the one that I had borrowed for the day, fall fifty feet to the ground. The brake flew, the handle cracked off and the chain bar bent into an unusual shape. "You OK?" we asked. "The tree grabbed it," he said.

"Well, let's keep going," I said thinking, "Going to have to fix that."

It did speed things up. "Let's just notch 'em and drop 'em," I said. There was at least forty feet between their house and the neighbors. "Plenty of room," I said.


They looked nervous. I could just see the "what ifs" forming in their minds but they conceded.

Trees started dropping like flies. Everyone was working, piling brush, tying ropes, stacking wood. It was great. This was the way Dad would have done it.

It was going so well I started notching the next tree while they were still cleaning up the last one. Now they were the ones twitching. I noticed some whispering going on in the wood lot. Soon my wife was beside me telling me to take it easy. "You're scaring people now," she said.

"It won't fall unless I cut it from the back," I explained.

"Just stop," she said in that 'just stop' tone.

We made it to the last tree just as it was becoming dusk. Exhausted, everyone had worked like the dickens. There was a little problem with the last tree. To make a long story short -- it fell on the neighbors house. Hey, I was tired. We watched breathlessly as it slid down the roof damaging only the rain gutter. We could fix that.

There we go, I thought. Done.

"Well, that was interesting," a daughter said as we ended the day over snacks. She was looking directly at me.


"What? Did I push too hard?"

There was smiling and a couple of quiet, unintelligible remarks. A little shifting in their seats.

"It actually worked out OK," they admitted.

"You are your father," my wife said shaking her head.

OK, I said. I'll accept that.

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