One of my favorite features of The Compound is the flag pole.
Almost everyone notices it. It’s not your run of the mill household flag pole that might stretch fifteen or twenty feet skyward. No, this looks like it was jacked from an elementary school or junior college quad. Even though it sets far down the hill from the house, it’s second only to the giant Maple in elevation. Conservative estimates put it at 45-50 feet tall and is a good ten inches in diameter at the base.
Months ago, during a windstorm, the rope got loose from the connector near the bottom and blew into a nearby tree. It was caught a good 20 feet in the air and remained so for a long, long time. So long that every windstorm twisted it further into the branches.
Today, I decided that needed to change.
My first approach was to tie a wrench to fishing line and toss the wrench over the rope, hoping to pull it down. It failed. The fishing line managed to cut into my hands but had no effect on the rope overhead.
Then, I found an ancient, 100 ft extension cord that no longer worked I tied this to a hammer and began tossing the hammer in the general direction of the overhead rope, On the 2,315th time, I made it. (Note, about the 500th time, I moved a car belonging to Katie the babysitter further away after nearly smashing the hammer through the windshield.)
Once snagging the rope with the claw of the hammer, I have a firm pull. Nothing happend. I pulled again. Nothing happened some more. Finally, I declared this to be a mission of my War on Foliage (having already removed nearly 20 trees from The Compound in the last few years).
I grabbed a saw and climbed into the tree. Reaching the offending branch, I sawed it off only to watch it fall halfway to the ground and stop, hopelessly tangled in the flagpole rope, another branch, my extension cord and the remnant of the fishing line. Somewhere in that mess was also my hammer.
Climbing down, I grabbed yet another rope and hooked one end to the front of my GMC Tahoe and the other to the branch itself. Backing up, the overhead rope grew very tight. So tight that the flagpole began to lean towards the tree. For a moment, I wondered if I wouldn’t bring the flagpole down across my Tahoe while leaving the rope tangled in the tree.
Eventually, through some creative yanking with the truck, I had the whole mess on the ground…tomorrow, we hoist Old Glory.