My friend Mike “The Inquirer” Owen likes to say that pine trees are just big weeds. He doesn’t say this as a joke; he says it with a certain degree of contempt.
Until this week, I’ve never had any ill will toward pine trees. This summer, I moved into a house with a whole bunch of pine trees in the backyard, which gives the place a woodsy feel.
If I’ve been mad at anything, it’s been at myself for not realizing sooner that the massive brick patio out back is on top of the septic tank, and that I’ll have to remove it brick by brick when the fateful day arrives.
We’d have still bought the house, but I wish we’d gotten the septic tank emptied first. At this point in my column, I’m tempted to write something scatological, but I won’t.
I’ll just say that I wasn’t mad at pine trees until last week, when that Tuesday storm knocked over three of them in my yard, including one that was 30 years old — I counted the rings — and more than 3 feet in diameter.
That’s a big tree, folks. Unlike other weeds, you can’t just pull it up.
And that’s when I started getting advice. I think everybody in Columbus has a brother who can take care of a tree for you. Except for one of the wealthiest guys I know, who suggested I just go out and buy a Husqvarna chainsaw and do it myself.
In the end, I hired somebody to cut up the gigantic tree for a couple hundred bucks, which was well worth it. But when he quoted a price to haul the tree away, I realized something.
I realized there was a good reason that my wife and I have four children: Because the tree guy cut the gigantic tree into about a hundred 1-footthick wheels, and we needed a bunch of cheap labor to push all those wooden wheels out to the road so the city could pick them up for free. (The city said it would make an exception because of the storm. Dream on, my neighbors said.)
My children come in various sizes, but it doesn’t matter. Even the smallest kid can point one of those wheels in the direction of the road, hurl his body against it, and get it started rolling.
The tallest wheels are easiest to roll. Kind of sounds like a proverb.
I was kicking back enjoying the sight of my kids rolling slices of pine tree to the side of the road, until I noticed that (1) somebody in the neighborhood had a new red Porsche and (2) some of the wood wheels were rolling out into the street.
But this has a happy ending. I went out to the road to stand guard, and no cars were injured in the rolling of the wheels.
And despite the seemingly countless people who told me the city would never pick up my hundred wooden wheels and all the accompanying limbs and branches without first charging me $26 per ton, the city was true to its word.
So no more anger for now. Until the next big weed falls.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .