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National Editorials & Columns

My neighbor thinks I’m still barking up wrong (Demon) Tree

Last summer I grew tired of my disfigured maple tree continually splintering into heavy, large and sharp pieces and damaging my neighbor’s house.

The tree in question (henceforth referred to as Demon Tree) already created irreversible damage to whatever awkwardly strained relationship my neighbor and I once shared. Over a period of two years, the tree sent her insurance premiums through the roof, ironically just like my wayward tree limbs did — right through her roof.

I ended up calling a tree guy out to my house last October to get an estimate on how much it would cost to exorcise the Demon Tree outright. I sought to smite the timber troublemaker back to the nightmare realm from which it came eons ago.

The qualified tree professional, Dale, came over, took a bite from his bologna sandwich, adjusted his red suspenders seven times and then mustered the dollar figure of $500 for the removal job.

Somewhere around this time I started having grand delusions that I could conquer the Demon Tree myself, despite the fact that I have never operated a chainsaw.

This possibly fatal do-it-yourself fantasy was further reinforced by my faux uncle, Don Beam. Don said with his tree-killing arsenal of gas-powered implements of destruction and his backhoe that we could tackle the devilish tree once and for all.

After all, I could find more than a million uses for $500. For instance, like repairing my own roof when the Demon Tree falls on top of it because I’m too cheap to hire a qualified and sandwich-eating professional (who is bonded and insured).

Welcome to my world, ladies and germs. It’s a fun and curious wonderland, though it sometimes carries the threatening prospect of getting crushed by a falling maple tree.

Early one morning during my vacation Don called me.

“Are you ready?” he asked in a low, hushed tone.

“Yes,” I replied, knowing what he was referring to without him alluding to it. It seemed like a mafia hit.

Ten minutes later, we were on the road en route to the home of a guy Don knew named Ed. Ed wasn’t home. Don and I went into his garage and acquired some yellow rope. I would like to tell you this was the first time we committed a daylight burglary together.

Once we arrived back at my place we took swift justice on the low-hanging limbs. Don climbed the tree with monkey-like agility before he carved what he could off the Demon Tree before we planned on felling the beast. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me, because Don technically qualifies as a senior citizen (though he’s more in shape than most whippersnappers I know).

Before we decided to call out “Timber!” I walked next door and told my neighbor that it might be a good idea for her to move her car, especially since the tree might topple in that direction.

“I don’t want to park on the street,” she said, stoically.

“Well, are you telling me you want a tree to fall on your car?” I responded. “Perhaps you should reconsider; maybe you aren’t seeing the forest for the tree.”

Soon thereafter Don and I got down to brass tacks, but we needed all of the muscle we could afford. I called up my friends Dave and Josh to help with the preparation. I also figured that in that circumstance the more eyewitnesses I had the better.

The execution of the tree was by design — Don manned the slowly-moving dump truck, which was tied to some rope that was tethered to the Demon Tree. The rest of us just stood nearby like fools as an audience of townsfolk watched in horror.

And from there, gravity did the rest. The Demon Tree fell harmlessly into my yard, just like Don said it would all along.

I’d like to think this will improve my relationship with my neighbor, but I don’t think it will. I think she still ‘arbors ill feelings toward me.

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