My Own Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Authors Collection.
May 30, 2015
I ADMIT IT. I was a city boy.
Born and raised in Dallas, I thought I was moving to the country when I moved to a town of only 40,000. But over the years, I worked my way down to a town of 20,000, then one of 3,500 and eventually I didn’t live in a town at all, but out in the middle of a forest.
We had been in our new tree-surrounded home for only a few months. My wife and I worked in the small town twelve miles away. One evening, shortly after we got home, my wife declared that, as it was my birthday, we should go out for dinner. And we did, driving an hour to Tyler, having a leisurely dinner and returning home several hours later. But, midway down the long driveway to our house, we discovered a tree had fallen, completely blocking our path. It was too big for me to handle, but between the two of us, we managed to move it out of the way so we could drive in.
About five o’clock the next morning, my wife was in extreme pain. I rushed her to the hospital where they quickly determined she had a ruptured appendix. Thirty minutes later, she was in surgery.
Everything went well, and soon she was in recovery. Big sigh of relief.
Later that afternoon, they moved her to a private room and she slept. So I had time to think about the events. What if we hadn’t gone out to dinner? We would have been in for the night. Then, at five in the morning, when we were rushing to the hospital, there would have been a large tree blocking the driveway. I couldn’t move it. We couldn’t get around it. What would I have done?
I jumped up and raced to the hardware store. And there, on November 6, 1988 I bought my first chainsaw. And this city boy was not too embarrassed to ask the salesperson how to use it.
I stayed in the hospital with my wife until they released her to go home several days later. But once home, I went out into the woods, found a tree on the ground, and put the chainsaw – and my new-found knowledge – to the test.
If there was another emergency and a tree tried to block our exit, I was ready.
The years have passed and now we have at any given time five chainsaws. This (former) city boy can use the gas chainsaw, the electric chainsaw, and the chainsaw on a pole. And there are two other chainsaws – one for use by anybody I hire to help maintain the acreage.
And a spare. Just in case.
All it took was an appendectomy to move a city boy to a chainsaw toting country boy.
James R. Callan is the author of Over My Dead Body.