Monday, July 27, 2015

When a tree falls ~ my column is Sunday's paper

The storm that blew through last Tuesday took two trees down in my yard. When I went outside with the flashlight I expected the worst, but as it turns out, they did only minor damage to my fence and chicken pen.

I was feeling a little smug about the whole thing until I walked outside the next morning. The wind had broken another tree off at the ground and it was leaning toward the house.

I called the guy who does tree work for me but he was slammed. He said he would not be able to get to me until the following week. I still felt like I was beating the odds.

Perhaps the god of mirth thought I was taking the leaning tree of Empire too lightly. Or maybe she thought I had nothing better to do on a Sunday morning so she had some fun at my expense.

Jilda and I were getting ready to go to the outlet mall in Leeds to buy me some new shoes. I think the first Bush was in the White House the last time I bought shoes, and they served me well but were looking a little gnarly.

The weather app on my iPhone chirped at 9 a.m. announcing a heat advisory. It was already as hot as Satan’s sauna with the mercury lifting upwards more rapidly than the last NASA space launch. The air was as still as a vacuum.

We’d debated whether to simply stay inside and drink ice tea, but I really needed shoes.

Our niece Samantha and our great nephew Jordan decided to go with us and she volunteered to drive.

We told her we’d leave at 11 a.m. Most of the time she keeps a tighter schedule than Amtrack. I think she wears an atomic watch on her right wrist and consults it frequently. Jilda was folding her yoga blankets, and I was updating a website before we headed out. Just then we heard cracking sounds, followed by a WAAUUMMMPPPPPHH!

Jilda bolted out of the laundry room, which is the closest room to the driveway, and yelled, “The tree fell, the tree fell!”

My heart lurched to my chest because I knew it was time for Samantha to be pulling into our driveway.

I bolted out the front door and ran...yes even with gimpy knees, I ran out the front door with my heart pounding. When I got to the driveway, I drew up short, leaned over with my hands on my knees.

I was thankful Samantha and Jordan weren’t in my driveway, but the tree had centered the roof of my truck, smashing the top of the cab down to the steering wheel. Only pine needles had brushed the side of the house.

Standing for a moment to let my heart retreat from my throat back to my chest, I took a mental inventory: The house was unharmed, our youngun’s were safe and the vehicle is insured. Believe it or not, I was thankful.
Picture from the screen porch with my old truck in the back ground.  It was
taken last spring.


  1. Maybe not the best out come but it was certainly better than many alternatives.

  2. Anonymous2:22 AM

    It must have scared the hell out of you!!

  3. I believe you were thankful Rick... it was only a truck and you could replace that as you did xox

  4. There is truly always something to be thankful for.

  5. I have to wonder why you parked the truck under a tree that was looking a little dicey?

  6. It could have been a real catastrophe instead, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. So glad things are back to normal.

  7. Strange how life is, you turned a tragic time into a great column! Good read, methinks you will get great response from that twist of a tale..

  8. Oh yeah, and knowing 'The rest of the Story' makes it set much better.

  9. Always the main thing is that no one was injured and you got a new truck with less miles on it. Tree men can be awfully busy after a storm

  10. Too bad about your truck, but like you said, it was insured.

  11. You ran bloody hell better then me no way I would be able to run............sorry that is all I got from this

  12. Some of the scariest sounds I've ever heard have been trees trying to come indoors. Glad nobody got hurt.


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