the text: idk if i’ll be able to mow the lawn today…

I’ll get in the tree guy’s way

me:  Tree guy is there?

15 yr old son: Many tree guys

me:  How many tree guys?

15 yr old son: They’re in the backyard too, which is where I would be mowing.  Like 3 or 4

me: Gotcha

Bobby the tree guy had returned.  It was Friday, not Monday, but nonetheless true to his word he was back. Lucky for my son, he also provided the perfect reason to get out of mowing the lawn.

The surface of my driveway was barely visible under the tangled mass of branches and leaves.

As I approached, the ground crew of two shouted out in unison, “Customer! …… Customer!”.

“Is that a warning so everyone knows not to talk bad about the customer?” I asked.

“No ma’am, it’s so we know there’s a lady present.” was the reply.

I had to smile at that.

“Where’s Bobby?” I asked.

My eyes followed as they tilted their heads back.

Higher, higher, and higher…. He was more than 30 feet in the sky, framed by the two limbs he straddled, his dark grey t-shirt blended into the backdrop of darkening clouds.

I watched through a window of two fingers as he planted one foot into the branch and stretched his body along the length of it.  Bobby swung the rope around the branch again and again in order to secure his next anchor for climbing.  I didn’t need to be in his shoes to realize that this job was much harder than he thought it would be.

As one of the dirt covered young men on the ground bowed against the base of the tree, his face buried against his arm, I knew I had received my silent cue to exit stage right.

Thunder cracked and the sky exploded, announcing the end of the day but not the end of the job.

Operation Tree Removal (aka Bobby the Tree Guy):

Part one:  I didn’t realize you thought I meant ‘this’ week…   Read post

Part two: Oh Me of Little Faith…. Read post

Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!

I was sad to read today that one of my all time favorite actors passed away.  Peter Falk, best known for his rumpled raincoat, stinky cigar, and that famous question, “just one more thing…”.

“Just one more thing…” meant he was hot on the trail and would soon solve the latest whodunit.

I can picture his bushy eyebrows, messy hair and the signature hand to the forehead as he pondered a situation.  His fans and ardent followers always knew that the question meant the end was near for the unsuspecting and not so clever criminal.

While perusing a few bios about Peter today, I was surprised that while they all refered to the hit television series and several movies, I didn’t see any mention of two of my favorites.

For all of the Princess Bride fans, myself included, I loved him as the grandfather in the movie where ‘as you wish’ means ‘i love you’.  His patience with the young Fred Savage as his grandson is touching.

His character guides his grandson from bored about the thought of a book to clutching his covers as he hears the tale of fencing, escapes, true love, and miracles.  Not unlike his character Columbo, he duped his unsuspecting grandson, into a confession when he admitted to enjoying the book.

I’ve seen the movie at least a hundred times, and every time, I  get a lump in my throat when he responds to the request to read the book again with the three words “as you wish”.

My favorite of all time though has to be his role as Vince Ricardo, a CIA agent in the hysterical comedy “The In-Laws”.  The version from 1979, the funny one in my opinion.

I can’t even begin to bring justice to the description of the zany characters, bumbling mishaps, or its brilliant comedic pace.  I think it’s best summed up with my favorite quote from the movie.

Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!