Comes the Ax-man

Posted: September 24, 2011 in humor, Life, storytelling
Tags: , , , ,

“Where are you going with that?”

“It’s time to prune the ash tree.” I cringe, resisting the urge to rip the saw out of his hands and toss it over the fence.

The ash tree is the centerpiece of my backyard garden. Everything I grow there was gifted to me by other gardeners. The morning glory that climb the dogs’ kennel came from Candy, the grape hyacinth from Deb, the daylilies from my Grandpa. The ash tree is from Vicki, as were the irises that grow beneath it.

I plant, tend, weed, water. My husband annually dismembers the ash tree. It’s his contribution to the natural beauty of our yard. Supposedly, he has a plan. He wants the tree to grow straight and tall and full and I’m on board with that. But does it have to look like the deciduous dork of the forest every fall? The way he prunes the tree reminds me of a haircut our friend Jim gave his then five-year-old son Jesse. We had stopped at their house to visit and Jesse ran out to meet us looking like he’d been scalped with a weed eater.

“What happened to your hair?” Yes, I’m that nosy.

“Daddy cut it.”

“With what?” And was he wearing a blindfold at the time?

Turns out Jim had a little trouble getting the sides even and kept trimming one side and then the other, trying to match them up. He finally gave up in frustration and left Jesse sporting a ‘do that even the lead singer of Flock of Seagulls (80’s band reference for the un-hip among you) wouldn’t have been caught dead in. Fortunately for Jesse, his mom ended up shaving his head.

The ash tree didn’t suffer quite the same fate. In fairness to the slasher who is now relaxing in his recliner having an after-massacre beverage, it still has a few branches on it and sort of resembles a shrub on stilts. The only upside to this is there won’t be much raking to do when those dozen leaves decide to take a dive in the next few weeks.

I’m told I’ll thank him next summer when the tree is round and lush, and all I can say to that is it better happen. Or the neighbors will be wondering how that saw landed on their deck and whatever happened to the nice young couple who used to live next door.

  1. Kay Vallery Young says:

    Love it, Kelly! Neither of my husbands has been into scalping, but I remember my wonderful Dad making the decision to crop off the lilac hedge that bordered our home on three sides when I was a kid. I would protest vigorously–especially when I found that the lilacs DIDN’T bloom the next year–and the next he would be lopping off the top again!! I remembered fondly waking up to the smell of the lilacs in spring when I was younger, but I don’t remember the nicely trimmed hedge ever having blooms again after he went into his pruning frenzy the first time. My gosh-there are all kinds of hedges one can have just for the greenery, but lilacs are meant to be sniffed and reveled in! I suppose it was his “contribution” to the yard, since the kids mowed the grass and mom did the vegetables and flowers. Later, I had my own lilac hedge, and I wouldn’t let my husband trim it. It grew so tall, the blooms were 15 feet in the air–and I STILL couldn’t smell them. Maybe I’ll have to buy some cheap lilac-scented cologne!

    • LOL. I tried planting some french lilac bushes this year but between the searing hot temperatures and the rain we got during the whole flood thing, they didn’t take. The neighbors across the alley have a gorgeous lilac hedge about 12 feet tall which the wife takes care of so no scalping there! When the breeze blows right in the summer, the scent wafts into our yard and the house if I leave the windows open. (SIGH) I love that smell. Lilac cologne sounds like a good Christmas gift idea for the grandsons!

  2. Loved your post! In fact, I chucked out loud. For everyone’s sake, I hope that ash tree is full and lush next year….

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