It Was a Dark and Stormy Night. Really.


It was mid-November 2015. There was a big pro squash tournament going on all week, and Ray had tickets for each night’s matches. He went alone during the week, and I went on the big weekend of semi-finals and finals. I was alone at home, just relaxing after a hard day at work, listening to the wind howl outside, and hearing the flying small tree branches falling on our roof. Directly to the west of our house is a small “urban forest” filled with tall cedar and alder trees. A few years before, a tree had fallen across the road which fronts the house. That one took about two days to remove from the road.

Around 8 p.m., the power went out. So I lit some candles, got my big flashlight to read by, and sat down to wait until the power came back on. Sometime around 9, I heard a sound like swish…thump. Then, just the wind. I figured I should go and see what the sound had been, so I got my shoes on and went out the front door. And to my surprise, and horror, that swish/thump turned out to have been a big cedar tree that had fallen across our driveway. Not only did it destroy a big new section of fence around the green-space, it clipped a big branch off the little pear tree in the front yard. A couple of feet further south, and it would have taken out the garage, and my car. We got lucky.

So now, I was faced with a dilemma. We have VOIP phone service, which does not operate if the power goes out. So I had to try and get ahold of Hubby with no home phone. Way back in the Dark Ages, we both had old-fashioned flip-phones. I knew that there was a possibility that they would not work either, with the power failure, but I was pleasantly surprised that I had service, so I called him up, and he answered. He had just left the tournament and was getting ready to get in the car and drive home. I apprised him of the situation, so he wouldn’t be shocked to not be able to get into the driveway.

And then, something happened that totally revived my faith in humanity. We really don’t know many of our neighbors very well, and I didn’t have anyone’s phone numbers to call. But I hadn’t waited very long before I heard the sound of a big diesel pickup truck and walked back outside. It was a couple of my neighbors, come over to help a damsel in distress. One neighbor brought his chainsaw. The guy with the truck parked it in the intersection in front of the house, trained his headlights on the driveway, and the neighbor with the chainsaw started cutting apart the fallen tree. It took him about 25 minutes to completely remove the fallen tree from the driveway so Ray could get in. Here is evidence.

Neighbor cutting tree. All the branches in the foreground come from the tree that fell.

You can see the poor, injured pear tree, and the section of fence the tree took out.  That fence had been fixed about a month before this. The pear tree is fully recovered and leafed out now, but it looked pretty pathetic for a while.

Ray got home shortly after the tree was removed from the driveway, and I had a chance to get out the push-broom and sweep some of the debris away. Our power didn’t come back on until about 2 in the morning, and there were no more mishaps that night. When we got out in the morning, we found our roof covered with cedar branches and “scales.” We were pretty lucky to get away with as little damage as there was — the lawn had a depression that looked like a big tree for a few weeks. And we thanked our helpful neighbors for promptly coming to my aid. Chainsaws are good to have around when you live next to big trees. And so are the neighbors.

Happy Halloween, and may no big trees fall on you.

Published in Group Writing
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There are 6 comments.

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  1. Arahant Member

    Pretty darned lucky there indeed. Cute houses in the neighborhood, too.

    • #1
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I bought the house 20 years ago while it was still under construction. If I had it to do over again I might not have bought this one. The roof and yard fight a losing battle against the cedar and maple debris. It doesn’t get much natural light inside, either. It does stay pretty cool in the summer, though. All the houses in our 85-unit development are spacious and good value. Mine is just under 2,000 square feet and I paid under $200K for it. It is valued at twice that today. 

    • #2
  3. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa

    I never saw the actual tree when I got home, but I could see the indentation it had made on the lawn on the opposite side of the driveway from where I usually park, and it definitely would have flattened the roof of my car. The subscription tickets were expensive, but much less than fixing the car, even with insurance coverage and even if the car wasn’t totalled.

    • #3
  4. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under the October 2020 Group Writing Theme: “It was a dark and stormy night… .” There are still a couple open days. If you wish to still post on this month’s theme our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits. Looking forward, November’s theme, “Cornucopia of Thanks,” is up, so do stop by to claim your day.

    Interested in Group Writing topics that came before? See the handy compendium of monthly themes. Check out links in the Group Writing Group. You can also join the group to get a notification when a new monthly theme is posted.

    • #4
  5. Steven Galanis Coolidge
    Steven Galanis
    @Steven Galanis

    I’ve got one of those “urban forests”  you speak of and for the first 10 years of home ownership thought nothing of it. Then during one hurricane season, I woke up one morning to find one of my trees uprooted and leaning on a tall tree in the middle of my neighbor’s yard. Two years later, another tree came down on her property and landed on her roof.  Now during hurricane season, I sleep mainly in the fetal position. 

    • #5
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    This post also crosses easily into next month’s theme: “Thanks.”

    • #6