Sunday, January 22, 2012

We Tree Kings

The tree trimming company that works for our electric utility put a note on our door telling us they would soon be in our neighborhood. I called them and asked for a special favor. I had two trees that were all tangled up in the electric service lines that ran from the power pole to the back of my house.  (I have learned this is called your home's "service entrance" by the way.)  The owner of the company came to the house to take a look and agreed that we had a problem, and a few days later his entire entourage showed up at my house at 7:30 AM on December 23rd.  They had two chipper trucks and two cherry pickers lined up down my street, and all of the men started buzzing around my yard preparing to take down the trees.  I was half expecting more guys to rappel down out of a helicopter saying "hut hut hut", but that never happened.

(Some of you may be mourning my trees and mentally calculating the extra CO2 that will be in the atmosphere as a result of this, but these two were so tangled up in my power lines that it was causing a problem. If a big wind were to one day blow one of the trees down, and that actually happens here, it would yank all the electricity lines and meters off the back of my house, and my neighbor's too.  It could even start a fire.  And I was unable to trim the tree myself because of it being tangled up in the power lines.  This tree needed pros.)

[At one point there were 13 men in our backyard.]

Almost all of the dialog between these men was in Spanish. I could only make out a little bit of it, but I'm pretty sure they kept calling the guy up in the tree "Pokemon" for reasons known only to tree pros.  To me it sounded like "Spanish Spanish Spanish tree Spanish Spanish him Spanish Pokemon".

I was so happy to have this tree removed I decided to make them some coffee. It was cold and early, and they drank about three pots between them.  One of them noticed the bumper sticker on my car that says "Yo <3 Los Frijoles, Honduras" and asked me about it. I got to tell him (in Spanish) that I travel down there with students every summer to work on projects and eat beans.  I'm not really sure he understood my Spanish, but we all went away happy and caffeinated.



Desk Job

My grandfather's name was Olan Cleo Thomas.  He preferred the initials "O.C." and perhaps I can't blame him.  When I was a kid I often overheard his friends call him "Tom".  This was short for his last name, "Thomas",  but I didn't realize this. I actually thought his name was Tom Thomas for a while.  I just called him Granddaddy.

My granddaddy was a farmer, a school principal, and for a season, the postmaster at the small-town post office in Ralls, Texas.  By the time I met him, however, he had retired from all of these careers except the farming, and that had downshifted into gardening, really.  He taught me how to drive a car, shoot a gun, and took me to play golf with him many times.

In his bedroom he had an old wooden desk. Years after his death in 1989 (I think) the desk eventually made it's way to my house, Orangehouse, where it sat in my back room cluttered with toys and the computer printer and miscellaneous back room stuff that polite people put in their back rooms so visitors get the impression they're more organized than they are.

Over the Christmas break The M and I decided to sand it down, clean it up, and move it into David's room for him to use to do his homework.  For this task I donned my new Christmas overalls and a little "mousey" sander - the overt manliness of the former being balanced by the toy-like quality of the later. 

 [A Mouse sander doesn't quite qualify as a "power tool" - it's more like an electric toothbrush with attitude.]

 [After sanding it down, I used a leaf blower to blow the sanding dust out of the cracks.  This worked remarkably well.  Maybe it was the overalls, or maybe it was the leaf blower, but I had the urge to play the Lynyrd Skynyrd CD I bought at Cracker Barrel in a celebration of my redneckedness.]

[Four generations later, the desk has returned to a bedroom, this time my son's.]