A few weeks ago, I noticed that two of the taller pine trees in the backyard were leaning toward the house more than usual, and the roots behind the largest tree had started to come up. I thought about the strong gusts of wind we had last week, and the more I stood near the house and looked at the trees, the more it appeared they could damage the house if we had a bad wind storm. So, I found a tree cutter to take the trees down.
My backyard is sort of comfortably clutteredwith life, things that are used daily – deck, clothesline, swing, shop, bird feeder, birdbath – and the surrounding trees are big and tall. The tree cutter took the largest tree down last week, dropping it right where he said it would fall and without touching anything in the yard. The other tree was scheduled to come down this week.
Early Monday morning, while looking in the backyard from the kitchen windows, I said to my wife, “I need to fix some things in the yard, particularly the clothesline. It’s sagging and needs to be tightened.”
I planned to get right on it next week, after the debris from the tree cutting had been cleaned up.
There are neighborhoods today where clotheslines are forbidden, and you may not have one, but we have one and had one when I was growing up. Almost everybody I knew had a clothesline, and it was as much of an essential of life as practically anything else. Why, there may even be some children who have never seen one, but I hope not, for therein lie beautiful memories that can be told almost forever – or written about.
Clotheslines come in a variety of types. Some have one line on them and some have several. Some clotheslines are round. Our clothesline posts have five lines strung between them.
When I was a child, we had a single strand of clothesline, strung between a back porch column and the corner of our outdoor “facilities.” A long thin pole held up the sagging middle of the line.
When we played in the backyard, we were careful to duck our heads and not to knock down the center pole when we ran back and forth under the clothesline.
Forgetting to duck under the line while running at a fast clip gave birth to a penalty in the game of football, known as a clothesline tackle. All of us children were sorely penalized at one time or another.
A little later Monday morning, the tree cutter made ready to drop the second tree. That tree was angled more toward the house, and more difficult to control, so a rope and pulley system were used to direct the path of the fall.
The rope was tightened, the chainsaw was started and the tree was notched in the direction it would fall. Then the saw was placed at the right place behind the tree. The saw roared again as its teeth bit into the tree trunk and the tree began to lean forward toward the notch and the direction it was to fall and it dropped smoothly and quickly with only one teensy-weensy hitch.
At the last second before impact, I guess the clothesline went crazy and just suddenly jumped in front of that tree.
It couldn’t be helped. The tree cutter did a masterful job with a wayward tree and a psychotic clothesline, and a relatively small space to lay it down.
A detective in the old television series “Get Smart” would have summed up barely missing the projected fall-mark with a thumb and a forefinger held less than an inch apart: “Missed it by that much!”
I’m happy – the tree cutter will fix the clothesline, saving me the labor. My wife is happy– she gets her clothesline repaired. My neighbor, whose dwindling woodpile that I wrote about recently, is happy – her woodpile is now stocked with fuel.
The clothesline was damaged, but nobody was injured. Sometimes, God turns unplanned events into win-win situations.