I am a glutton for punishment.

My wife was out-of-town this weekend at a home school conference, and I wasn’t looking forward to missing her, but I also wanted to plan some unique things for the kids and I to do.  I then started wondering if there was something we could do to surprise her when she got back.

Flying solo for the weekend, I knew what would be a great adventure for the 4 of us – we could cut down some trees.

We had one pine tree that’s roots were busting up the driveway and another oak tree that was dying, and I thought to myself: this is the perfect way to spend my Saturday with my children.

The only problem is I knew I was going to need help.  Serious help.  But I can’t stand asking for help.  It is a huge problem for me.  I hate inconveniencing anyone.  I know everyone has stuff they either need to do or would like to do, and so I don’t want to bother them.

But, I’ve got these people who either live in my house and/or my office that I consider as extended family.  I am blessed to usually have some college students, 20-somethings, and high school students that are around.  And, at some time, some of these folks had either expressed interest in:

  1. Doing something manly
  2. Doing something dangerous
  3. Setting something on fire

Since, I was planning on doing all three, I sent out the word, and I received some great excitement for Saturday’s surprise.  We started at 10 and the party began.

We really did get some work done.  Everyone is probably still sore or cut up from the work we put in, but it’s also hard to have fun with all the riding things in our garage.  Cole and Heath found some green machines on which to cruise around my neighborhood.

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We were also very glad that Young was around to keep the streets safe from fire.  I still don’t know how he fit in that one.

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This is my truck pulling the white oak down.

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And this is how close the top of the white oak came from landing in the back of my truck.

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Since the tree had a slight lean to the road and my neighbor’s mailbox, we tied it off.  The guys pulled on the cable to help it lean back towards the yard.  As the cut continued, I could feel the tree begin to pull us instead.  I was trying to keep these guys at task but they were all nervously laughing about what would happen if we couldn’t hold it, what if Young flew through the air like out of a catapult, and which way everyone was going to run if the tree came down so that no one would step on or trip over each other.

As the saw got stuck due to the increasing lean, I ran and grabbed my truck, put the boys in the front seat with me and slowly started pulling.  I didn’t want to jerk too hard because I have heard horror stories of a tree ripping out a piece of a truck or jostling it so that it goes the opposite way.  So I pulled enough to when it started coming towards me, I heard the crack, I saw the guys running and screaming for their lives, and pulled away just in the knick of time.

As we emerged from the trucks to yells, all of these guys were giving manly hugs to one another thankful that we were still alive and that we had passed through yet another feat of strength.

We cleaned up the wreckage as fast as we could and had finished clearing off the driveway when my wife and her friends rolled up in the driveway with wide eyes trying to process all that had happened in her absence.

Success in being able to pull of the surprise.

Success in having a great Saturday.

Success in realizing that we need each other.  So glad I don’t have to do life alone.

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Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.