At the beginning of the year we had a neighbor pass away which left his house vacant. As you can imagine without someone looking after the home 7 months can do wonders on your yard.

We’ve cut the grass multiple times. Cleaned up the apples and cherries that fall off the trees that separate our yards. But frankly, I was tired of doing it. I called our district alderman to complain about the mess of a house behind us and he knew exactly what house I was referring to and made it clear that it would be a while before the house was taken care of, relatives were being slow to respond.

“Come winter time, the snow will cover it all up and you won’t have to see it until next spring.”

I wasn’t very happy with this response, shrugged it off. Later that afternoon I see Shirley, my elderly neighbor (76 years old) outside with clippers trimming the neighbors cherry tree that was hanging over the fence. I watched from the kitchen window and then decided she was struggling way too much, so I went over to help. When I asked her how the tree trimming was coming, she explained to me in an exhausted voice that she was cutting down the tree, not just trimming it. Evidently before the neighbor passed away he made the comment to her that she could do whatever she wanted with his yard. She was taking his words to heart.

So I pulled out our nifty DeWalt saws all and got ready. As we were prepping the area, another elderly (and nosey) neighbor strolled by to see what we were up to. We told her our plans and she was shocked. She then assumed we were joking and went on walking. (You should’ve seen her face when she came back from her walk!!)

So I started cutting. After one large branch was completely cut off, Shirley wipes her brow and says, “If my late husband could see me now he would be so upset with me. He never wanted me to do anything that required hard physical labor.” I chuckled and then stated. “If my husband could see me now…I don’t think he would be the least bit surprised.” I got a good laugh out of her.

Within 15 minutes we had the whole tree down and we stood back to admire our work, slightly wondering if anyone in the family would notice we cut the tree down. And then I glanced over at the apple tree dropping buckets of apples on my lawn and thought…I’ll leave that one for another day!