Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Again

Photo courtesy of Josh K

I wish Hallmark made a card that read, “Dear neighbor, my deepest condolences and sincerest apologies for my tree falling and nearly taking out your house — again.” No such card exists, sadly.

They do make cards that express, “Dear little brother, I’m terribly sorry for breaking your arm. It was an accident, honest it was.” I know that because I’ve needed to buy a card like that before. Even ones with the sentiment of, “Dear mother, I overfed all the fish in your expensive aquarium and now the toilet is clogged.” But they don’t manufacture cards regarding situations involving large trees nearly falling on small homesteads, much less one that apologizes for when it happens a second time.

I would kindly recommend that if card makers are interested in the idea — I can attest there is a market for such cards — I would be willing to hand over the rights. On the front it could read, “If a tree falls from my yard into your yard and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Then on the inside, “Unfortunately it does, neighbor, and it’s the sound of your insurance deductible slowly rising.”

But as I implied, this isn’t the first time a tree in my yard decided to uproot itself and commit horticultural suicide, nor is it the first time a tree nearly toppled through my neighbor’s abode. The first time occurred during the March primary election in 2008, which is a tad foreboding if you ask me.

Back then one of my large maple trees buckled under the pressure of freezing rain and missed my neighbor’s house by only a few feet. Instead, the rotund trunk and large limbs crashed onto my neighbor’s driveway, but thankfully she wasn’t home at the time so her automobile was spared though my dignity wasn’t as fortunate.

The only bad part was when Mother Nature yelled “Timber!” a few of the limbs snagged my neighbor’s power lines and yanked her power supply plum out of her house. I kid you not, this was exactly what happened the second time around, too, when another one of my trees fell into her yard last month. The only silver lining to the storm clouds that caused this mess was the tree spared my neighbor’s house and even her small patch of tomato plants.

As terrible as all of this seems, the worst part was I couldn’t remember my neighbor’s name. I was 87 percent sure her name was Melissa. However when you plan on apologizing to someone all proper like I find it’s important to address them by their correct name, and not Marissa, Larissa or Clarissa.

I don’t converse well with my neighbor. I have only had one conversation with her before, which transpired the first time one of my rogue trees nearly squashed her home.

According to my insurance company, which ironically is located directly behind my house, I didn’t need to file a claim. This particular instance is something insurance companies conveniently consider an act of God, and as such she would need to file a claim instead of me.

Thank God for acts of God I guess.

By the time Melissa finally got home I ran outside like a lunatic to perform some much-needed damage control. Marissa stared at me like my eyeballs rolled out of my head and my body comically started chasing after them.

Imagine how horrifying that must have been for Larissa. She finally gets home from a romantic weekend with her boyfriend (no clue what his name is) only to find another tree of mine rotting in her yard.

To make matters substantially worse, her crazy-eyed neighbor with a Charlie Manson smile is incoherently babbling nonsense and using a plethora of fancy insurance words like abutting property, acts of God, liability and deductible.

Melissa, which turns out to be her actual name, had every reason to think I was just attempting to con her like a fast-talking swindler, which is usually the case with most people. But I stressed the importance that it was an act of God, and not an act of Will.

Hoping to lighten the mood after a long period of awkward silence I decided to end our second conversation of all time by saying, “Well, I’m going to make like a tree and leave.”

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Chuck Briese, Oak Ridge Now

[avatar user="cbriese" size="thumbnail" align="left"] Chuck Briese has been a resident of South Montgomery County since 1988. He and his lovely and patient wife, Leslie, have six sons, with only one left to finish high school. Chuck has been a Cub Scout leader, a Little League baseball coach, a church youth leader, and a general troublemaker over the course of the past 25 years. He is obsessed with his lawn, and likes restaurants that serve food that fills up the plate. He has a tendency to tilt at windmills, which may explain why he started Oak Ridge Now.

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