Pulling up the hill, I stopped short of my house and parked my little car in front of the neighbors' perfectly kept home and yard. My ragged yard was especially tatty with the pile of branches and leaves growing taller and wider at the curb as Paul and Michael took down our teetering honey locust tree limb by limb. They'd gotten pretty far in only a few hours, down to only a few large bare, branches.
Michael scampered around the tree, cutting, and Paul kept his feet on the ground, holding hard on the ropes tied to the branches Michael had trimmed bit by bit, guiding the wood to the ground, away from our house, away from the maple tree, the ash tree, the ginkgo tree, away from the power lines.
Kayleigh and I glanced up at Michael as we walked up the driveway. He stood on a solid branch, surveying his next move, his next cut.
"You're crazy!" Paul hollered up to him. "You're not walking out on that."
"I'll have to straddle it," he shouted back.
Paul looked at me and smiled. I handed him two water bottles and 65 cents, his change. The water in my house is perfectly fine, as is my bathroom. They prefer to stay outside.
"Straddle it?" I peered up at Michael. "I've never had that much wood between my legs."
I smiled and headed inside.