Friday, May 18, 2012

Palm Tree Friends

The bucket truck arrived at 7:00 AM, the hard-hatted workers 7:30 and by 9 AM the shredder was chewing up tree trunks and spitting them out in a whirlwind of wood chips and dust.

“Our neighbors are going to hate us!” Mr. Wonderful shouted over the machine’s buzz saw whir.
“We had to do it!” I shrugged.
“But on Sunday morning?”

He did have a point.  If I were the neighbors, I’d hate us.  Especially if I were Charles and Stephen because on a windy day their yard already received most of our dead palm fronds, plus they worked long hours and now their bedroom windows were just a few feet from the busy wood chipper.  Waking anyone—especially them—from precious weekend slumber with this incessant, high-pitched noise wasn’t the way to ingratiate ourselves with our neighbors.  But with both Mr. Wonderful and I working six-day weeks, Sunday was the only time we could oversee this massive job. 

The “job” was our front yard.  Or more appropriately, making our front yard look less like a FEMA-declared, tropical disaster zone.  Currently it was a collection of overgrown palms: including shaggy Mexican Fan Palms, each topping out at 70 feet high; and sloppy Queen Palms in various states of living, half-living and totally dead states.

To trim, chop and remove the dead arboreal debris, the bucket truck lifted and lowered—Beep!  Beep!  Beeping!—with every movement.  Chainsaws whirred and the shredder decimated tree parts spewing them on the street in what looked like a sand storm in the Sahara.  At 10 AM I spotted Charles, our bearded neighbor from across the street, and his pit bull.  Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Charles looked at the machines and hard-hatted workers charging about our yard like a famished ant colony at a summer picnic.

“I’m sorry, Charles,” I said backing away from his dog as it bared its teeth.  “Sorry for the noise and mess!”
“You planning the next invasion of Normandy?”
“Just trimming our trees to get rid of the dead palm fronds.”
Charles lifted his arms as if to strangle me.  Then he put his hands together and clapped, clapped and clapped.  “You’ve just endeared yourself to everyone on the block, not to mention improved all our property values.  Thank you!”

Other neighbors—Stephen, Harold and Harold’s wife, Norma, whom we’d never met—gathered on our driveway to watch the production.  They smiled, shook our hands and said;
“So glad you’re doing this.”
“Nice to meet you.  Welcome to the neighborhood.” 
“Here’s our contact information.  Call if you need anything.”

Rudely we’d taken away their Sunday morning and in return, they gave us their friendship.