Sunday, March 20, 2011

We Need Teamwork and Old-Fashioned Neighbors.

a 90 foot spruce and the tip of a redwood tree fell from our property across the neighbors road,
 I grew up loving the Little House on the Prairie books and Caddie Woodlawn and the concept of neighbors joining together to do seemingly huge things in a day.  I think that is why I love "Extreme Makeover, Home Edition" so very much.  I know it is why, when I wrote my first novel, I made sure that the resolution to the Crisis, required both the villain and the hero to work together to shore up each other's weaknesses and form a strong and united whole.  What Duffy Barkley found in uniting forces, what the pioneers knew when they had barn-raisings and quilting Bees, I finally discovered in my own neighbors the weekend Crescent City, CA had our 34th Tsunami since 1933.

 My husband was out of town at a music festival with his High School music Students, and my teenage sons were out at a friends house overnight.  I had just been offered a job teaching in a new classroom and had done 4 days when the Tsunami cancelled school.  Friday was the Tsunami, and Sunday the house started shaking with wind gusts and lightning whipped in and was followed by window rattling thunder.  One loud crack was followed by another, the power blinked, the house shook, hail splattered the windows and was gone just as quickly.

 Then as I settled in in front of a rented movie, my neighbor knocked on the door.  "Your tree fell into our yard."  I turned to grab my shoes and tripped and fell in my kitchen, knowing that would be a sign of how the rest of the day would go.  I looked up from rubbing my wounded leg and saw the clock reading 1 PM.  Without even stepping outside, I knew this would be a huge mess.  I do not have any small trees.

The first glance confirmed that one of the 90 foot spruce trees had tipped over, tearing a hole in the ground as it uprooted and taking off the top half of a nearby redwood as it fell.  The road that winds through our 2 acres doesn't go to our house, but there are 5 or six houses beyond where the tree lay across the road and about 2/ 3 of the neighbors lawn.
 I could not imagine where I could find help on a Sunday, or how the people in those homes would get to their homes or their jobs, but even as I walked around, snapping pictures for the home insurance, the neighbors were at work.  Some of them are roofers and some are loggers and all of them are the type to see what needs one and do it immediately.  They called for chainsaws, and a friend with a loader and with raingear and gloves and a cooler of beer, they attacked the limbing of the trees as they waited for the loader.

 They attached a strap to the smaller redwood log and drug it away with a pick-up truck

Some of the limbs tower above a truck

These limbs were as big as some trees my Dad logged in Wyoming

Then the loader arrived and lifted one end of the spruce and pushed it off the road.  Limbs were piled out of the way, and although a lot of clean-up remained, the road was once again passable.
You know you live in the country when neighbors have a loader handy to lift fallen giants

The loader pushed the tree off the road

even the dog was ready to celebrate

three hours after they fell, the road was "clear"
I went along the road, looking for asphalt damage, and was delighted not to find any.  I looked at the clock and saw that it was 4 PM.  Then I found out later that that sudden gust of wind had moved through here, overturning two cars in Smith River, blowing down trees and power lines in the canyon toward Grant's Pass, OR and closing down hwy. 199 so my husband and his bus load of music kids had to take a winding detour which included a rickety, one way bridge.  It even knocked out trees 127 miles away in Medford and Ashland.
Some of the Good people
With that wind storm, and the Tsunami, the help available to complete the clean-up has been a bit slow, but the teamwork of good, country neighbors turned it from a catastrophe into a minor annoyance at worst, and at best, reminded us that we live surrounded by good people.

1 comment:

  1. A heart warming story about people pulling together. It is good to hear.

    I hope all is well there now. x