Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Naked Tree Chopper!

The following is a true occurance and has not been embellished in any way!
Well I have told this story many times but never thought I would put it down in print: what follows happened almost three years ago, and is as funny now as it was then.
My best friend Jim Ryan was working as a fire fighter with forestry service at the time and had just met the future mother of his son. We had spent several hours at Kiva beach and had consumed mass quantities of beer(we could both put it away back in those days) and on arriving back at his house a arguement ensued between Ryan an TyVera, he came storming out to the truck and asked to get some more beer (like we needed it) and we proceeded to the liquor store, well Ty followed us and while Ryan was in the store she stole his fire boots out of the warthog. Upon discovering this Mr. Ryan goes into a rage( to fight fires requires a pair of good boots and a pager to be on call ) and goes back in and gets a quart of Jack Daniels ( former beverage of choice ) and we go up to Twin Peaks 4x4 trail and drove up to what is referred to as the Stair Steps, I didn't have a spare at the time and stopped there at the bottom. We started in on the wisky and were sitting on a big log. Jim gets my axe from the hog and walks over to a fairly large pine and starts chopping on it, trying to discourage this I say "you would look pretty stupid if Forestry rolled up and you were choppin a tree in your Crew 19 t shirt" and I briefly looked away and as I glanced back he had stripped of all his clothes and continued chopping in his Yankees cap as if nothing changed. Oh my god! I fell to the ground laughing, I have never laughed so hard for so long in my life! Absoultely the funniest thing I have ever witnessed bar none! I sat and watched and laughed until my sides hurt and I couldnt breathe.
After recuperating and realizing I had no idea where this tree was going to fall (or when) decided to move the hog out of the truck crushing zone, and pulled down the trail a few hundred yards. At around nightfall I noticed three sets of headlights coming up the road.
I guess Jim noticed them too because I turned around and he was gone, like a naked bigfoot, out in the forest (found out later he was hiding behind some rocks listening to everything). So three countie mounties show up and here I am alone near a severely damaged pine tree. They claim that someone reported a tree being chopped, but Jim still had the axe and his baseball cap. I said I don't know nothin' they said we think you do and tossed the A-10 looking for a chopping implement and upon finding nothing but Ryans clothes and a empty bottle they put their little heads together and decided to write me a FEDERAL ticket for defacing forestry property (which I never received a summons for! Sarge probably threw it out for lack of proof) and told me to get the hell out of there, which I gladly did. I boogied on down that road rapidly. Laughing all the way back to town. I stopped at the first pay phone and called TyVera and she was all like "What am I supposed to do?" and I said I'd go back except if they saw my truck again it would be Greybar Hotel for me..
Well we met up and drove back out there and after hearing the story we were both in tears laughing again. Well we had the dog running point and Bob Marley blasting from her truck hoping he would hear us, we searched about an hour,driving all the roads around there and not finding him went back home. When we pulled up to Ty's there he was still buck-ass, sitting in a lawn chair with a stolen towel in his lap.
I can't tell you his story of making his way back along the back-country forest or the razor wire fence or the creeping along the backstreets of Gardener Mountain wearing nothing but a smile (he lost his beloved Yankee hat somewhere between there and home) except to say he had us back in stiches again for another half an hour.
Well that is the God's honest truth and nothing more!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:13 PM


    Drunken tree-cutting stories, huh? Here's my favorite.

    This story goes back to when my son, Alex, was about 10 years old. I was working at an Electronics Engineering firm called LeCroy. We were up in the Adirondacks, visiting with friends (Bert & Heike) who were running a campground. This couple had met & married while working at LeCroy, and several LeCroy people & families had come up for Memorial Day weekend. One of the single guys who came up stopped at a Dollar Store & bought a bunch of kites for the kids who'd be there.

    We displayed our usual level of holiday weekend restraint, & didn't start drinking until noon. At about 2 in the afternoon, some of the kids started gettin' crabby, which was Johnny's cue to break out the kites! This was Alex's first experience with a kite, but he was doing pretty well with it. Being a cheap kite, though, the string was none too long. As the kite gained altitude & the string approached the end of the spool, I clearly told Alex to "Watch the string!"

    And that's EXACTLY what he did! WATCHED it, as it came off the spool, and started trailing away along the ground! I started chasing it, and actually got within about half an inch of grabbing the string when the breeze picked up & carried it away, & into a tree.

    Burt looks at the kite, and the tree, and says "Hell, this tree's dead anyway - might as well take it down."

    "Burt - its a $1 kite - let it go" we all told him, as he went into the garage after the chain saw.

    So he comes back with the saw - had a bit of trouble starting it - when he finally DID get it started, he was holding it in a VERY odd position, and somehow managed to cut his pants leg on the chain! One would think that having an active chain saw blade get that close to one's own meat might discourage one - but NOT Burt!

    Anyway, after Burt had made a little progress with the tree, as the rest of us watched in stupefied amazement at these drastic measures to retreive a $1 investment - someone ELSE'S dollar, no less! - I sauntered over to the tree, surveyed the likely fall path, and asked Burt if those electrical or phone wires that the tree was GUARANTEED to hit when it fell were live or not.

    He allowed as how he didn't really know, but agreed with me on 2 points:

    1) We could NOT allow the tree to fall on those wires, and

    2) If he just quit now, the tree was sufficiently weakened that, sooner or later, it was CERTAIN to fall - on the wires!

    Now this tree was in a fairly heavily wooded area, with another tree about a foot away in the direction opposite the wires. It was gonna be really tough to find an angle to cut at to make it naturally fall in any non-risky direction.

    SO - Burt goes back into the garage, and comes out with a mess of ropes & pulleys & such, and it takes 5 of us about an hour (there's a MESS of Engineers present y'understand - and EVERYONE's got an opinion!) to set things up so we're all confident that we can guide the tree down without nicking the wires.

    And the final parting shot, of course, is that as soon as the tree starts to fall, the kite frees itself & flies away!

    There's a moral to this story, of course - something about alcohol & chain saws - draw your own conclusions.