The first part of this July was a soggy one indeed, however, it lacked the drama that made last July so memorable. It was out of a clear, blue sky when ominous clouds rolled in accompanied by serious lightening, thunder and outrageous winds. While standing on our back porch I was an eyewitness when two enormous tree branches cracked and crashed to the ground. Fortunately their final resting place was smack dab in between the wrought iron fence and the flowerbed. And much to my relief the fence and the zinnias were unscathed as was the very near-by umbrella table.
A neighbor assisted my hubby in chopping up the mess and dragging it down to the burn pile. But neither man could reach, no matter what they used, the die hard broken branch still up in the tree. It taunted as it teetered. Finally, having no more tricks up their sleeves the guys left it blowing in the breeze. It was obvious there would be a day of reckoning. It was just a matter of time before this limb would find its way into the pool or create the disaster the fence and flowers were spared.
Two days later, son Brad called. It was around 5:00pm and he was asking if he and his wife could come over to swim. Then he called ten minutes later to see if four of his buddies could join in the fun.
“And by the way, Mom, we’ll be there at 6. No need to feed us, so don’t worry about that. We’ll go out for pizza later. Oh yeah, but do you have anything we can drink, like orange Gatorade, Dr. Pepper or Coke, bottled water? Really, anything you have will be fine, except diet soda of any kind.” (Good to know he wasn’t picky, just any old thing would do.)
Everything comes with a price. Mine was allowing them to come over on such short notice and right at dinnertime. I did have an ulterior motive, however, way in the back of my mind.
So the kids (of course we still call them that even though they’re 4 times 7) showed up with towels, swimsuits and a near unquenchable thirst. Amy, Brad Boy’s wife, was wise to sequester herself in the spa, clear of the rowdies doing cannon balls off the diving board. This went on until at last the boys had proven, at least to themselves, who could come the closest to “dive draining” the pool.
Now was the time to plant the seed!
“Hey guys. Ya see that broken limb up above your heads? Well, Dad and Mr. Cooper couldn’t dislodge it. They tried everything! It snapped the other day during the storm but it’s very stubborn. There’s just no way to get it down.”
As if I had a magnet tied to my finger as I pointed, six chins shot upward, all male eyeballs narrowed and you’d have had to have been deaf not to hear the wheels turning.
They politely offered to get the branch down “when pigs fly.” I smiled to myself and went inside.
Nanoseconds later, Brad came to the door and asked about using a ladder and some rope. I told them that wouldn’t work. Well, they’d just see about that. Amy and I threw out a few ideas but what do girls know about a man thing?
Now determined to accomplish what the old bulls couldn’t, the young bulls kept after the task, failing time and again with each new solution. I started getting more than a little nervous when they tied one end of the rope around a large rock. They were taking turns pitching it above their heads while standing atop the shaky ladder. The plan was to wrap it around the branch. I explained I didn’t have enough insurance to cover them when the rock came falling back to earth and gave them a concussion. Of less concern was the fence but the position of the ladder had me envisioning it careening them teeth first into the iron bars.
As darkness began to fall the men conquered all and the last of the leaves from the now grounded limb fluttered in the wind. They h
ad finally managed to lasso the branch so their tenacity had paid off. With chests puffed out the manly men carted the large timber away. Amy fetched a rake and diligently cleaned up the aftermath. (Once again, the woman picking up after the men.)
The air was thick with testosterone. All the guys were claiming bragging rights for the end result:
“Using the long handled trimmer was my idea,” said one.
“Yeah but that didn’t touch it, even with the ladder,” countered another.
“But I thought to tie the rope around the rock. How genius was that?”
Each contribution was described by a voice huskier than the previous one and the banter continued until well after dark. Finally the mosquitoes and hunger gave way to pizza. Besides I’d about run out of ‘any old’ refreshments.
Waving goodbye as they pulled out of the drive, it never dawned on them just who it was that really had the best idea for getting the branch out of the tree………………it was me!
Originally published in the August 2010 edition of The Cross Timbers Gazette.