Just another day in Avoca

A few members of Avoca Fire & Rescue went to a meeting Wednesday night in Slayton, and when we got back we parked the truck we had driven back in the firehall.

AFR member Sid Granum locked up the hall and pocketed his key. We had all walked to the hall from my house, so we started heading back that way. We walked down the road and around a corner and all four of us came to a halt. There in front of us in the road was a tractor. High up in a tree in front of a neighbor’s house was a chain, which was hooked to the tractor. Several people were milling about with chainsaws, several more were pointing and making suggestions.

“Sid,” I called out. “You might want to keep that key handy. I have a feeling we might need the rescue rig.”

We all laughed and ambled closer.

My husband Eric had his pickup also hooked to the tree and idling across the street in another driveway. He and some other guys were deep in discussion about what exactly they hoped was about to take place.

The tree has leaned over the neighbor’s house for as along as I can remember, but was in pretty rough shape. It had to come down. The tricky part was getting it to come down where they wanted it to come down and not on the house or on top of the mailbox across the street.

The four of us wandered over to watch the show, which several others in town were already doing. By the time one guy started cutting on the tree with his chainsaw, half the neighborhood was standing around watching. One of the AFR members who had gone with us to the meeting lives on the other side of town, and soon another AFR member who lives on the other side of town had joined the crowd. The two of them briefly conferred about what was going on.

“I had no idea this many interesting things happened over on this end of town,” one said to the other.

“I spent most of last weekend over here,” the other replied. “Its unreal what goes on.”

The saw was buzzing like mad, Eric was keeping the chain between his truck and the tree tight, while our friend Brad did the same with his tractor. Chainsaw man had finished cutting the wedge out of the front of the tree and now started working on the back cut. Just as the saw started to bog, Eric pulled forward with his truck, Brad moved forward with his tractor and TIMBER!

“Go Brad! Go!” some of the audience yelled as his tractor seemed to pause. The tree top cleared the seat of his tractor by just a few feet.

There was a mighty roar as the audience all whooped, hollered and applauded. That tree landed exactly where Eric said it would land, which was major cause for celebration. No mailboxes or houses were harmed in the process.

I noticed right around then that my son Matt was standing next to me.

“Where you been?” I asked.

“Watching from the deck,” he answered.

Apparently Eric had been watching the hooking up process while he was standing on the front deck grilling meat and had offered his assistance, leaving Matt to finish the cooking tasks.

Once the tree was down, a few guys went to work cutting off limbs, others were hooking up chains so the big logs could be hauled away, and within a half hour there was nothing left but a few branches, a pile of sawdust and a huge stump. Everyone had stepped forward to drag little branches onto a trailer and gotten the job done pretty quickly.

What fine entertainment it was. It was also nice to watch neighbors helping neighbors.

We never did have to use that firehall key, thank goodness. Just another day in Avoca.