Solutions June 2016 - Page 67

A friend of mine owns six teen h eavi l y w ooded acres in east Texas. His wife has made their two-story log cabin, comp lete w i th w raparound porch, so war m an d ch ar m i ng, i t i s w orth y of a f eat ure i n Sout her n Living magazine. Every crisply curtained window, every pitcher of wild flowers is placed with min d f ul grace. Hummingbirds thrum in the eaves. Porch rockers creak with contentment. Around the cabin, my friend has kept the land and folia ge with a similar elegance of attention for two decades. A few years ago, he needed to clear a key area on their property so he took his tractor and chainsaw to fell some dy in g trees. It w as som ething he had done many times. On the last tree of the day, he cut a lar ge V-notch in the front of the trunk and headed back to the tractor to pull the chain around the tree. Before he started the engine, he heard an echoing pop behind him. The oak wasn’t supposed to be coming down yet. He on ly remembers j um ping of f the tractor. It may have been close to an hour before he regained con sciou sness. Facedown. The oak lay beside him. Both of his forear ms were in pieces. His collarbone had snapped. His T12 vertebra was broken. For another hour, he d re w enough aching bre a t h t o yell for help. He ha d t o . Hi s cel l phone had l anded twenty feet awa y , on the other side o f t h e tree. Thank God for the w ar mth of Texas Fe b r uarys. A teenaged n e i ghbor felt uncomforta b l y hot while playing v i d e o games and opened t h e windows to let in so m e air. He thought he h e a rd a small voice callin g , so he stopped, lean e d and listened outsid e t h e window, but then w e n t back to his chair an d resumed the game. After stopping, going to t h e window, and restar t i n g the game several t i m e s , he was convinced h e must be hearing th i n g s . Then he recognized t h e voice. “It’s Dr. How a rd ! ” he yelled as he ran o u t the door, tearing th ro u g h the woods to find h i s neighbor. W ithin m i n u t e s , an ambulance was o n i t s way. The paramedics pla c e d Dr. Howard’s twiste d and injured body o n t o a gur ney and sped to t h e hospital. Throughou t t h e bumpy trip, my frie n d grimaced in pain u n t i l he saw an EMT brandi s hi ng l ar ge shears. Carefully, she lifted the l e g of his overalls. “No! N o t the boots!” he yelle d . “Cut of f my clothes , b u t don’t cut my boots ! ” S h e paused, looked at h i m f or a mom ent , t hen retur ned to her work. SMG Solutions 67