The Handy Man and I have had to get creative in financing the education of our children. Homeschooling is way less expensive than private school, and even though I try to use as many non-consumable materials as possible, other expenses are just too important to cut…things like music lessons. My older girls bartered a variety of services, from lawn work to babysitting, to help pay for guitar lessons. We are very blessed with the creative and flexible ways our music teachers have worked with us.
We arranged with our piano teacher to take down some problematic trees in her yard. Last year’s lessons were a trade of three trees. We still owed her one. She needed three more huge pines taken down–all of them leaning slightly toward her house, and all very tall–and the Handy Man said we could make that barter work for lessons this up-coming year. The issue, though, was that the Handy Man would have to climb these huge trees in order to attach a cable to the top parts in order for us to winch each one in the direction we needed them to fall. And then we would have all the little branches to cut off and dispose, and then we would have the trunks to cut up into out-door fire pit lengths. It was going to be a LOT of work.
We have a friend that the Handy Man has known for many years from GAP (Gainesville Aid Project). His name is Ricky. Tree Man Ricky, to be precise. Tree Man Ricky does tree work on the side and he owns a chipper, and I thought that if we could borrow the chipper on a weekend, then we could at least get the branches out of the way. I asked him. He was curious why we needed it, and I explained to him the whole barter situation. Now, Ricky is a good ol’ Southern gentleman. By this I mean that he calls the women he knows well by endearing terms like “Babe”, “Honey”, “Darlin'” and “Sweetheart”; for Star Child, he reserves the endearments “Tubby” or “Fatso”, which, if you know Star Child, could not be farther from the truth.
Tree Man Ricky is a dear, dear friend, always the first to grab the newest baby (from the first time I brought a newborn Dee to GAP, to the first time Dee brought Sweet Pea to GAP a few weeks ago,) and the giver of the biggest hugs. His side-kick, known to most folks as Coach Hudson, but known to us as Chuck and to Ricky as “Chuck-O” is also a dear friend. When the Tree Man heard my explanation, he replied, “Well, Babe, it sounds to me like what you really need is the bucket truck.” Because you see, the Tree Man does actually have an ancient bucket truck.
The Handy Man and the Tree Man arranged to get together to look at the trees, and then once that was done, they arranged to meet last Friday to take the trees down. Only last Friday it was storming, as it did Saturday morning, as well. (It turned out to be a beautiful day later on, but who wants to take trees down on the 4th of July?) So this afternoon Gladys Mae and I met Tree Man Ricky and Chuck-O after football practice. I had a cooler of Gatorade and some deer jerky sticks…and I left Gladys Mae to help. The Handy Man had to work today. So the Tree Man, Chuck-O and Gladys Mae took down four huge pine trees and chipped all the branches in about 2 1/2 hours. It would have taken us days to accomplish all that.
The Tree Man would not even let me pay for the gas. He kissed my forehead before he left and told me he did it because he loves us and he knows how much it means to us….and he was thrilled to know that Little Princess will have another year of piano lessons. Little Princess also got to take a ride in the bucket all the way up to the top of the extension. That was a thrill!
We still have some work to do: the trunks are in sections, but still need to be split into smaller pieces and hauled off to the back yard or other people’s fire pit areas. That we can accomplish in a good Saturday of work.
We are so blessed. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that we have friends who are so willing to bring their equipment (Tree Man drove the bucket truck and Chuck-O drove Tree Man’s pick-up with the chipper behind it) and sacrifice an afternoon so my child can have piano lessons. Do you know where you find that kind of Big love? You find that kind of BIG love in the body of Christ.
How has the Lord blessed you today?