The doorbell rings and then a knock on the door. I open the door and there stands a short little wisp of a guy his red hair and scruffy beard sticking out from under a stocking cap, dirty layers of sweats, gloves and a big toothless grin. “Hi. I’m Rooster.”
I’d heard some voices next door as my neighbor was working on his motorcycle. They kept yelling at him and he couldn’t hear them. Finally they got his attention but I didn’t listen to their conversation.
“We are doing some tree work for your neighbor and wanted to know if we could get into your yard.” Rooster said as quickly as the words could be formed. “If you need any work done around here…” he started his pitch but I stopped him by saying, “Well, there is something you can do.” Rooster’s wild eyes perked up and I showed him the side of the house.
“Here are some crape myrtles that, as you see, I’ve been cutting back. Could you give me a price on finishing the job and removing the branches?” I turned back around and Rooster was gone and a large black man was looking up nervously. I look over the fence and another group are gathering and another guy walks up and says, “Hi I’m your neighbor.”
In the mist of the growing confusion, Rooster calls out. I walk toward him and he gives me an estimate. “We can cut all that down for five.” “Five?” I reply. “Five for the whole job.” “Five hundred?” I searched for details. Rooster while starting to direct his ever growing crew replied, “Yes sir.”
A few years ago I’d hired a reputable tree service to do the same job for $400, but this task had been on my ‘to-do’ list for some time. I figured I could do it myself and had started but these fifty-foot branches were awkward and hard to handle when I also had a power saw in my hands. I had plans to do some more cutting today but when I heard my neighbor working on his cycle I decided to wait. I didn’t want these swaying branches come crashing down on his fence or possibly hitting his house while he is there.
“Sir, this tree has some serious wood bores and we can cut that down too while we are here. I’ll throw that in for another 5.” Rooster is speaking as fast as any speed freak but I got the drift. “I’ll even trim back these bushes so you can….”
“Whom do I make the check to?”
When I come back from my morning bike ride, Rooster is up in the neighbor’s tree dangling from ropes directing his cutting crew on how the branches will swing amid the roar of chain saws and flying sawdust. Branches and stumps were being dragged in both yards to several pickup trucks parked in the alley. There was no shredder or grinder, just a pile of sticks.
Rooster and his motley crew, who were all very pleasant or possibly high, did their work, packed up most of their tools and were on their way by early afternoon.
I picked up the remainder branches that didn’t make the truck. Next spring there will be a lot lighter in my sunrises.
Also on my ‘to-do’ list was to remove the landline for a service I cancelled years ago. The cord was chopped and removed at the same time so another project checked off. Even with all the strangers trampling about the yard, the anxiety and payment was worth it.
The Lord moves in mysterious ways.