The Tree Slayer

When we went to Philly a couple of weeks go we stopped in Virginia on the way up so that we could at least see my mom and dad. We stayed at my cousin’s house because even though it’s only about 30 miles from my mom and dad’s to my cousins, since my parents live way in the country it would have added over an hour to our drive. Plus I didn’t want my mom to have to go to all the trouble of cleaning for us to spend one night. She’s not in the greatest of health and even though she says she’s not going to any trouble I know she does and I didn’t want to add any burden to them. I just wanted to be able to spend a little bit of time with them.

We arranged to meet at this new buffet they have in Charlottesville called Hibachi. We had eaten at the one in Lynchburg when we went up in October and even though they are not at all affiliated, they are almost identical, right down to the chocolate fountain. Yep, my mom got her chocolate fix. Apparently the guy who owns the Hibachi in Lychburg was the first with the idea and someone came in and he gave them a tour and they took his idea and ran with it. He hadn’t copyrighted or trademarked his idea or name or anything so he’s pretty much out of luck with that. It’s a little more unique than most buffets in that it has American, Chinese and Japanese. It even has sushi and they cook steaks to order and have meat carving stations and stuff.

We had a really great time and got to sick when we finished while my dad “held court”. By that I mean he likes to tell stories and they are almost always fascinating. This time he was telling us about how he had the honor and privilege (well, he thought it was until he actually got into the job) of cutting down the largest tree ever recorded being cut in Charlottesville. It was back in the early sixties I guess because he said they only had 5 kids which would mean it was after I was born but before SuziCate was born.

This was probably wround that time. That's me with my Daddy.

He said he was cutting in the park near where this tree was and the gentleman who owned the land where this tree was stopped to ask him if he would cut a tree for him. He said he’d had several other tree cutters balk at the job and tell they couldn’t do it. My dad kind of scoffed at the idea of not being able to cut a tree and the guy asked if he was sure he could do it. My dad said “I ain’t never met a tree I couldn’t cut!” He said those words came back to bite him in the butt.

My dad as a young man

He said when he pulled up to the property it didn’t look that bad but what he didn’t realize until he got closer was that he was just looking at the top of the tree. It was kind of down in a gully/valley and he says he measured the stump after he finally got it down and it was over 9 feet across the center. He said it was one of the biggest (around) trees he’d ever seen and was “only” about 100 feet tall or so(sorry I originally said 40, hubby corrected me). Only??? He said when he got a good look at that tree he wished he hadn’t been so quick to open his mouth and say sure, no problem.

His biggest obstacle was that his saw blade was only 22” long. But my dad is a very stubborn man and a very prideful man and since he had given the man his word that he’d so it, he set to the task of toppling the giant. We asked him how in the world he could tackle a tree that was 9 feet across with a saw that only had a 22” blade and he said very carefully and one piece at a time. He said he worked several hours getting it down. He’d saw out a chunk 22” deep at a time all around the tree and then start in on the next layer and he kept on until he said he had a core in the center of the tree that was about 16” in diameter that was holding the tree up.

 He said there had been a reporter from the Daily Progress there that was taking pictures and was waiting around for the tree to fall so he could get a picture of the finished product but since it took him longer than he anticipated the photographer had to leave because he said he had to get back to the paper before 4:00 for his deadline. He said he felled it about a half hour after the photographer left.

He said once he got it down to the 16” core he had seen a man working nearby with I guess a front end loader or some piece of machinery that he had a bucket or something on the front and he had him raise the front end of it and push against the tree as high as he could until it cracked the little core that was left and toppled the tree.

He did say he learned his lesson not to automatically assume that there wasn’t a tree around that he couldn’t cut and to always check it out before he agreed to do something. But it was fun just sitting there listening to him tell his tale because he gets so excited and animated when he recounts those kinds of stories.

I wish we’d had more time to spend with them on that trip but coming back through the closest we got was Richmond which is a couple of hours away. Hopefully we will get back up there again before long and we can listen to him recant the tales of his youth. My dad is an amazing man and quite a colorful character. I wish you all could meet him.

I was talking to him on the phone yesterday and he was telling me how my friend’s husband had called him and they were talking. I told him “You know… I think all my friends and their spouses have adopted yall. They all just love you and Mama to death. You’d think that yall were their parents too!” He said he felt like they were too that they loved all our friends and loved talking to them. It warms my heart that my friends I grew up with love my family almost as much as I do and it makes me feel good to know there are friends who live close enough to check on them if they needed it. I have been very blessed to have wonderful parents, siblings and friends.


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
This entry was posted in Just Life, Tales from my youth, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Tree Slayer

  1. suzicate says:

    Great story. I can see him telling it now!

  2. LisaF says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could video him telling these stories? It would be a way to bring a piece of family history to life once he’s not here anymore. The great-grandkids would be in awe!

  3. NikNik says:

    I LOVE this story!

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