“Cami! Hey! I was out in the woods takin’ a leak behind the old culinary school on Route 159. Did you know there’s an old Sikes Family graveyard back there? From, like the 1600’s?”
Only Tarzan, our beloved tree man, can get away with such candid, face-value humor. His jeans are dirty and worn, work boots thick and secure. He’s unshaven and prefers Newport cigarettes. Like an excited child, he continued to explain his latest tombstone discovery.
Tarzan is of the old-school teachings of tree service. There’s no mechanical bucket. No groomed crew of six men or an expensive truck with fancy tools. Only a rope, a dangling chainsaw, lots of profanity and an exceptional amount of entertainment. He climbs the trees and rappels with no fear, like Tarzan.
Tarzan is a legend around Suffield and Windsor Locks (and other towns, I assume). People around my area simply refer to him as “that crazy tree guy.” Yes, his methods are unconventional, but he knows and understands the variety of native species, their roots and their distinct personality. He carefully assesses each tree, each limb, before climbing to the top with an idling chainsaw. His craft is calculated with formulas only he understands.
We had the privilege of meeting Tarzan last year while he did some much-needed tree work after the wrath of last October's storm. Since then, he’s done an incredible amount of work for us, our neighbors and friends. For the individuals a bit apprehensive, I recommend trying his style on for size. His work ethic and manner are a bit colorful, but once Tarzan services your trees, you’ll overlook the rough exterior and see a man who genuinely loves what he does.
With the blustering wind on the eve of Sandy’s wrath, my neighbor came over concerned about a 100-foot evergreen destined, he thought, to hit his house. We walked over and noticed that with each blustery gust, the tree swayed a bit more, separating the soil at the base and lifting the root. Since Sandy was well on her way, there wasn’t much time.
We called Tarzan. With in 20 minutes, he showed up in his rusty, maroon truck with a cigarette teetering from his mouth and a rope around his shoulder. The wind was picking up, making it impossible to climb. Instead, he tethered the handicapped tree in a series of nautical knots to surrounding trees. If the tree were to fall, it would completely avoid the house, angled to fall in a cluster of neighboring trees. It was a temporary fix until conditions were safe for him to complete the job. It was tree physics!
The strong gusts and needled rain continued throughout the night. Thoughts of home damage, my neighbor's tree, if and when we were going to lose power and the sheer madness of two major storms in one year was enough to make even the bravest souls feel helpless.
Before 8 a.m. the next morning, Tarzan called inquiring about the tree. Because of Tarzan's sense of urgency and knowledge of trees, it remained secure throughout the night.
By 9:30, I saw his rusty truck in my neighbor's driveway and ropes dangling high from the disabled tree. I heard the humming of his chainsaw and the echo of his random yelps. I threw on my boots and ran over to thank Tarzan for saving the day. Before I arrived, the 100-foot evergreen had already been cut down. What was amazing to me was his casual nature about what he had done. If the tree had fallen on my neighbor's house, it would have crashed through their dining room and newly mortared chimney. The damage would be have substantial.
To him, it was just another job. He was more interested in telling me about the old Sikes Family graveyard he discovered while taking a leak behind the old culinary institute on Route 159. Thank you, Tarzan, for your old school, unconventional ways and a sense of humor that keeps your customers coming back!
To read Cami's previous article about Tarzan, click here.