Archive for June, 2014

My Stump Story

June 2, 2014

Once upon a time there was a holly tree. Fooled you didn’t I. Most of my readers are aware that I am a double amputee and probably figured this story is about what’s left of one of my legs. Not exactly. It all began because there was a Holly tree next to my house. I like holly trees and holly on the mantle during the Holly-days, but the trees can be problematic near houses, sidewalks, and some claim they generate negative energy. Besides this particular tree was right where I always wanted to park my van to unload groceries and stuff. I like groceries … and stuff.

So one day a friend acquired a chainsaw and wanted to fall a tree with it. He knew about my trees unfortunate location and wanted to cut it down. He assured me the stump would be low enough for my van to clear. Eventually I had an 18 inch diameter stump, and some wood. I forget what we did with the wood but for a year or two I was parking my van off the street … and my van’s A-frame hit the stump every time. Talk about negative energy.

So at that point he wasn’t interested in lowering the stump but had all kinds of advice about how to drive. The more I parked straddling the stump the deeper the tire tracks got and the situation magnified. Others assured me they could cut the stump lower with their chainsaw and they’d come by and take care of it for me. I kept smacking the stump when I parked.

So one day I ran across a bow saw for sale and thought it would come in handy and maybe I could lower the stump with it. I leaned my legs against the wall in the bedroom, took the wheelchair out on the front porch, crawled out to the stump, and went to work. The bow saw did come in handy and 30 years later it still comes in handy. Holly wood is very hard though. So I bought a couple different shovels and started digging. I messed with that stump every day for weeks. Maybe I’m slow. I also ended up with an ax, machete, stump killer chemicals, and got to meet all my neighbors as they walked their dogs and stuff.

My church was in the neighborhood so as my church friends cruised through they’d stop to visit too. Friends and neighbors all had advice and generous offers. I could just quit and eventually someone would show up and remove my stump. Of course the generous offers would take place not today … but someday. I kept digging … and sweating.

I foot or so down I ran into a wagon wheel formation of roots up to 6 inches across. I started sawing and chopping. More advice, more generous offers, but like the Creedence Clearwater Revival song says … Someday Never Comes. I kept digging, sawing, chopping, hacking … and sweating.

Another friend named George actually did show up to help one day. He brought his 4-ton come-along. He assured me I had removed enough dirt and hacked at the roots long enough for the come-along to finish the job. George was built a little like Norm from the Cheers sitcom. So he hooked one end of the cable around a huge maple tree, and I hooked the other end around my stump. He took up the slack and started pulling the ratchet lever till it was really tight. He was straining for another click on the ratchet with feet braced when the come-along exploded. George hit the dirt. George is dead. But that didn’t happen till recently so my stump probably wasn’t a factor. George gathered up the pieces, gave me some advice, mostly about my driving, and left. I kept digging, sawing, chopping, hacking, sweating … and laughing. The laughing was helpful. I removed the stump. Thanks George.