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Story ID:10075
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Middleburgh New York USA
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By Fred Wickert

I was working for a mobile home park and trucking company. On one end of one row of trailers there was a little property of the trailer park before it reached the border with the adjoining farm. A large Elm tree stood there and had succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. I burned wood to heat my home and was always looking for opportunities to get fire wood. I asked the boss if I could have the tree for fire wood and he gave his consent.

I took my chain saw and looked over the tree. It was a little tricky. It leaned toward the trailer park so it was inevitable that it was going to fall that way. There were two rows of trailers. One was up a hill a little from it and one on the level below where the tree stood. It was imperative that when the tree came down that it landed dead center between the two trailers because if it didn’t, it was going to fall on one of those trailers.

I had cut down hundreds of trees over the years and was confident I could drop the tree safely without any problem. I sized up the situation and decided where to place my cut. I cut my notch on the side toward the trailer park and all was well. I stepped around to the other side of the tree and began my cut to bring down the tree. That is when disaster struck. The trees weight shifted and turned the trunk of the tree. Now there was only one way that tree was going to go when the cut was finished. It was going to fall directly on the trailer at the end of the row on the level ground.

I instantly stopped sawing and pulled the chain saw out of the cut. I looked at the tree to determine if I could change the direction of the lean with wedges and a sledge hammer. There was no way. It was leaning too far. To make matters worse it was beginning to get dark.

Our mechanic, George was a close friend of mine. I knew he had a lot of tree cutting know how. I went to get him. I asked him if maybe a long chain could be attached high enough in the tree that we could hook it to one of the dump trucks and pull it the right way to make it lean back the other way and then fall the tree where it could land safely. George said he wanted to go take a look at it.

When George and I got back to the tree, he looked it over for a minute. Then he said to give him the chain saw. With chain saw in hand he walked over to the tree. He raised the saw as high as he could get it and began another cut. I stood off on the uphill side at a distance, watching with a lump in my throat. I could just see that tree coming down on that trailer and knew I was going to be in great trouble.

The saw stopped cutting and George removed the saw from the cut. He shut off the saw, walked over to me and sat the saw down. He looked at me and said, “There, that should do it.” I asked if he was finished and he said he was. I asked if the tree was going to come down from that cut and he said it was. I said, “Okay, when is the tree going to fall?”

Looking me in the eye with a twinkle in his, and the start of a grin at the corner of his mouth, he replied matter of factly, “Right about now.” At that very instant there was a loud cracking noise and down the tree came, perfectly centered between the two trailers and precisely where I had hoped to put it from the beginning. I went to get my station wagon and cut up the rest of the tree with the aid of my headlights. I went home every night for the next few nights with the back of my station wagon loaded with fire wood.

When the tree fell and hit the ground I let out a surprised yelp and then asked George how on earth did he manage that? He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know. Sometimes I just get lucky.”

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