The people and trees around us seem to share some things in common. Both are around us yet we know very little about the actual life they have lived. We observe them both grow and age. Trees and people carry on with their life whether we are their to share it or if we have missed out. I know that sounds pretty deep but it is also a really simple truth when one sits down for the comparison. Well then, what’s my point? We will get to that or maybe you might even see what it is by the time I am done here. But let’s start with the tree that has fallen a few months ago out at the far edge of what I mow as part of my yard. Call me lazy but I just haven’t reaaly felt like dealing with this fallen tree because of the work I knew I would be having to do with it. However, as spring is now in full effect where I live in southeast Texas, I know I only have a few more weeks before it is very hot and swampy outside. It won’t be too much longer and we will be flirting with triple digits. Due to the heat I try to accomplish major things outside in our very short cool weather months. So, as I mowed my grass with my brand spanking new John Deere riding mower (the replacement), I drove by this tree which reminded me that there was work to be done. Or,leave it and let the other trees and vines consume it. But I don’t want this to look unkept, a personal choice, so I made the plans to handle it yesterday, Monday, since I have found it is better to plan things into my empty days instead of just throwing caution to the wind. After mowing I made sure my chainsaw was sharpened, my tractor was fueled up, and the burn pile had been knocked down, all in preparation for Monday’s task. I also went ahead and loaded the tractor onto the trailer already connected to my truck so there wouldn’t need to be so much back and forth walking on my part. Sadly, I know this dress all too well with all the old and majestic trees on the property.
Just before first light, just before the first glimpse that day is breaking, before the buttcrack of dawn, I was at the tree unloading my tractor from the trailer. I rearranged the small generator in the back of my truck so it was back on the runner mat, if not it vibrates allover the damn place. I plugged in my 80’s boom box and pushed play. Great news, we will be listening to Ozzy this morning. I cranked it up to max volume so I can hear it over the chainsaw. I am sure Mr. Crowley sounds pretty eerie creeping through the dense trees this early in the morning. Hot damn, chainsaw lit off on the first crank, time to let the wood chips fly! After about about an hour of cutting I begin to feel the warmth of the sun on the backs of my legs so I known I need to get moving so I can get it done. My son, riding the golf cart, came down to tell me he was off to catch the bus. He was a little upset he wasn’t helping me but was very understanding I think. Off he went, back to the house to get his bag so he could go catch his bus. Thankfully he brought down my big plastic mug that I left on the kitchen island, I was dreading having to break momentum to go back to the house. After a few hours I had a garbage pile and the wood I will keep for my outdoor fire pit. Oak is a great wood for these fire pits. I put a little effort into cutting the wood into very manageable pieces. I will split it in a few weeks to let it dry out more. First I need to fix my frankensplitter because it has a nasty hydraulic leak somewhere. Being done cutting, I hooked the chains to the bucket of the tractor so I can drag the bigger branches to the burn pile. Afterwards I loaded all the cut wood I was keeping onto the trailer. Tired now, and its only just shy of noon, I decide to leave everything where it is to go get a bite to eat up at the house. The hard work is done now so there isn’t actually much to do except clean up. I won’t lie, after making myself a toasted smoked turkey sandwich I did end up taking a short nap out on the deck while enjoy the slight breeze. But, nonetheless, I needed to finish. Before heading back down I loaded the crock pot up with chicken and spread the cheesy sauce on it and turned it on, dinner at 6 or so is my guess. Easy peasy done. I walked back down to my truck, loaded up, and the parked it back up alongside my shop. I will unload later, maybe even the next day (being today and it isn’t done yet).
While I waited for everyone to start trickling in from their day I took an ride down to get the mail. Bill, bill, advertising, sale, and something strange with no return address. I hopped back in the cart and headed back to the house. I opened the strange letter first. I skipped to the end to see who it was from, I know, bad habit. After realizing I didn’t know the person I started from the top. It started with a short explanation of how we don’t actually know each other but she knew me because of her mother and because she saw me in 2009 when I met my biological siblings for the first time in South Dakota. Technically she is my niece that I didn’t know I had until reading the letter. Her letter bears bad news, it seems that my biological grandmother has passed, someone I never met, and I am being informed that I was mentioned in the reading of her will. She will not disclose to what degree nor why, but told me to be expecting a package which contained some items belonging to my biological father. Items she had wanted to give me in person but it never happened. My biological father also died before I met him. In fact he had died before I never knew of him. Then the letter was signed with “Love, Gracie”. End of letter. Sadly, I never met the mother of my biological father, but I am sure she lived a very full life.
Which is where we get back to how trees and people share a similar path in life, both go on whether we are there to witness it or not. Both come and go in and out of existence and the is little we can do about it. There are many people I have not met and may never meet on that biological side of my family. Until 7 years ago the ones that have met me never knew I existed and when I dropped in on their lives I am sure it was as shocking as an old oak tree crashing into the living room because of a bad storm. And then in a crash of thunder, all of our lives changed. We questioned most of what we knew, and we embraced the changes that were coming whether we wanted them or not. I will wait for my package, impatient of course, because that is the way I get sometimes. So, this is where it ends today, with me waiting for my mystery package.
At first he was reluctant to really go into any details. After a deep sigh Charles explains to me that he would rather I heard it all from him rather than through the grapevine. He reminds me that he has been married for 18 years to his wife. Together they have three daughters, 7, 13, and 17. However, about 6 years ago he found that their marriage was in a slump because he was no longer interested in his wife sexually. So, completely by accident, at a church function, he met someone who really understood him and his sexual desires. At first it was all about the sex, this person brought out everything his wife wasn’t able to. I thought this strange to be telling me, but okay. Charles went on to explain that this relationship is still in full swing which is why he is in the doghouse with his wife. Recently, a few weeks ago, she began to suspect that he may be cheating on her. So, she began asking him subtle questions. Behind his back she was looking through texts on his phone, phone records, and people he was associated with. Quite by accident, he says, she found out the truth and was not happy with any of it. He knew the day would come and never knew exactly how she would handle any of it but didn’t think she would be acting this extreme. But, as he found out, she believes the relationship has crushed their marriage with the lies, the sneaking, and the deceit. In the end, he doesn’t blame her for the anger she feels towards him and understands that she is really pissed. Just when we were about to wrap up the conversation he tells me it is time for him to go and he has someone waiting in the car on him. Fair enough, I will do what I can, when I can, with your yard and stuff. About that time a man comes down the trail, he sees us talking, and proceeds to approach us. He asked Charles if he was ready to get going since they had some stuff to pick up before it gets to late. He introduced himself to me as Robert. After he shook my hand he reached down to hold Charles’ hand. Charles paused and told Robert that he was just explaining their relationship to me so I would have an idea of what was going on. In my head I am thinking…………did I miss something? Hand in hand the went back up the trail and disappeared into the trees. Ummm, what in the hell just happened?
Later in the evening my wife went next door to talk with Beth to see if she needed anything. My wife being herself, she took a bottle of chilled wine and some snacks, hoping she would talk to her, woman to woman. It didn’t take long and they began to talk some. Beth explained that they will be putting their house up for sale very soon due to some very unforeseen changes in their current marital status. After some talking for a while my wife said Beth kinda broke down, she could see the tears in her eyes and told Beth that she could talk to her if she wanted to, no worries. Since her daughters were all upstairs getting ready for bed Beth told my wife that she is heartbroken with everything that has been going on with her husband. She is angry with her husband for what he has done to her, their family, and to their marriage. Then she dropped in my wife’s lap with how upset that she is that Charles has been having sex with this man and then coming home and having sex with her for quite a long time. Beth said that she thought their marriage was going pretty good for sometime now and then she started noticing changes in him that she didn’t understand fully. He was asking her to do things sexually that have never been talked about between them ever before and out of the blue here they were. She didn’t go into any kind of detail with my wife except that she thinks back and can remember when the things sexually in their relationship began to change but thought that the counseling they were in had given new insight to trying new things in the bedroom. Overall, she feels let down by Charles because they have been living such a big lie. She got to the point where he had to move out because she could not stand to look at him. She has forbidden him to speak to their daughters about why they are now separated. They think he is out of town on business but that won’t last forever. Beth doesn’t want her girls to know that their dad is choosing life with another man over her. After they exchanged their goodbyes and condolences, my wife headed home. I am sure there is some things she isn’t telling me, small details of sorts. My wife is kinda upset with Charles. She told me that never in a million years did she expect to find out that our neighbors would be splitting up because he has a boyfriend who he is choosing to be with over his wife and daughters.
My wife asked what I thought about all of this going on. Well, it’s actually none of my business and I am just as surprised as everyone else. Well, not as surprised as Beth I am sure. This all got me thinking a bit, knowing now for sure that their house will be going up for sale. I need to look into that pretty good because if the price is right I would like to buy it. Why? It’s simple, I would rent it. What better way to pick your neighbors than to own the house they live in. Plus, it’s on a good plot of property, right around 4 acres. I could use a little extra land in the back of mine down by the creek. Who knows, I suppose I should run this by my wife. She might not see all of this as an opportunity.When we bought our property we did try to buy that lot but were told somebody had already put money down on it. I did, however, buy both lots to the left of me. I didn’t want my neighbors and their lives into mine without them putting forth a little effort to get to me. I don’t know what to say about Charles. I guess, good for him finding what he was looking for in a relationship. On the other side I feel bad for his wife and family since his actions will ultimately change their lives as well. Proves to say that one never knows their neighbors as well as we think we do. I am just glad it was an affair and not something like they were running a prostitution sex ring out of their house or them having a meth lab or something where the law had to get involved. Domestic issues get messy but in the end nobody has gone to jail for doing anything stupid yet.