Ah, there’s nothing better than that first cup of coffee while watching the still waters of the lake. The sounds of my neighbor’s chainsaw firing up added to the morning’s pleasant atmosphere. Some city dwellers would probably complain, but this Southern man compares the sound of saws and fighter jets to war cries of freedom.
I’m sure that somewhere a tree-hugging, hand-wringing individual wearing bunny pajamas awoke with a start, jumped on Facebook, and began to cry tears of despair. But he or she should understand that our good Lord in heaven gave us domain over every creature, tree, bush, and fire ant. If that mighty oak was falling for firewood, lumber, or just because my neighbor didn’t want to rake the leaves, that’s fine with me. I’ve never found a scripture that forbids such.
But alas, moments later, the saw stopped abruptly, followed by a sharp cracking sound, then absolute silence instead of the expected large roaring crash. Being in tune with modern nature, this man understood that something had gone wrong and strolled on over.
Hands-on hips and a pondering stance is always a bad sign. The cut tree had hung up high on another tree, adding to the challenge and ultimate danger. Now normally, this is where most rational men of good sense would quit, call a professional, and back the heck out of the way. But this is the South, and that ain’t happening. Many years ago, our ancestors held off the Northern army for four long and painful quarters. And if they had a few more beans and bullets, they probably would have won that darn war. Pride does go before a fall, and there’s nothing that torques a Southern man off more than a prideful tree.
“How we gonna attack this, Earl?” I asked, seeing that the butt of the tree had kicked back and dug into the sloping terrain. About that time, sliding tires and slamming truck doors interrupted our conversation. Jeb Stuart and the cavalry had arrived.
“We were working across the slough,” the tallest said, “Finishing some trim work. Bad luck,” he surmised, “What’s the plan?”
“Don’t know yet,” Earl replied, old and mature enough to still be sizing up the situation.
“I say we hook a chain to the butt of the tree, and I’ll give it a good pull with my truck.”
“Oh hell,” the shorter one said while hitching up sweat-laced jeans, “That Ford couldn’t pull the wings off a butterfly,” he scoffed. “Told you we should’ve brought my truck…it’s a Chevy.”
The next ten minutes were lost while the two argued over trucks, NASCAR, and football, seeing how one was Auburn and the other an Alabama fan.
“Just watch this sonny boy,” he shouted to his buddy as the slack was pulled out of the chain. I must say the whole episode was very impressive as the best of Southern male testosterone was put on display. The four-wheel drive pickup was at a disadvantage, one, having to pull uphill, and two, the house was built over a gravel pit. Rocks flew from the spinning tires as if an A-10 Warthog had made a low pass with the pilot’s finger on the trigger of the 30mm cannon.
“Whoa! Whoa! You dang fool!” His buddy shouted while taking cover behind a big pine tree. Meanwhile, the half-fallen tree remained solidly wedged. Me being the oldest and hopefully wisest with the greatest collection of scars, backed a little farther away. Quitting was not an option for this good ole boy, his pride was now sufficiently stung.
“Let’s go get my truck,” his friend said, now smirking with delight, “Told you yours couldn’t do the job.”
“I’ll be damned!” he snapped back, his face scowling, “Just need to start with a little jerk for momentum.”
“I don’t care,” his buddy snidely said, “You ain’t got enough horsepower to move it!”
“Just watch this!”
“Ruck Ro!” I thought, “Those are fighting and emergency room words!”
Murphy’s Law, which is tattooed across my forehead and lives in my back pocket, decided when the truck hit the end of the chain that it was time to make his appearance. Even those fellows who spend painful, tedious hours stacking thousands of dominoes just to tip one over and watch the others fall couldn’t have enjoyed this chain of events more.
The truck bucked like a young sassy mule, causing the tree to break free, allowing more forward momentum, which helped the front tires access the paved driveway. The huge mud grips gained traction, and with his foot still on the gas, the truck shot forward, dragging the tree another twenty feet. The hapless heat pump that was sitting on a pad of concrete, just minding its own business, was center punched and driven from its normal resting place.
“Told you I could move it!” he cried while jumping from the truck.
“Yea,” his friend shouted, “But you busted the hell out of his heat pump!”
“Aw, heck,” he replied, walking down the hill, “I’ll call ole Joe; he’ll have this thing fixed in a jiffy.”
“It’s Saturday, you ignorant fool! Everyone knows Joe stays drunk all weekend!”
“It ain’t noon yet,” he shouted back, “He ain’t had time to get tight yet! Just what can you expect from an Auburn fan,” he mumbled while looking at me.
Now why should this man fly all the way to New York City to watch the Jersey Boys or The Phantom of the Opera when we have our own Broadway shows right here? Our good ole boys ain’t acting, they are the real deal.
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Stephen’s first book is a novel, “Where the Cotton Once Grew.” Among the stellar reviews, one reader perhaps said it best, “This is a fabulous read and extremely powerful story. It managed to surpass my expectations. Once I started I could not put it down. It will make you smile and then in an instance bring you to tears.” Click here to purchase.