Roped my tree limb, but not Poor Charlie

I was standing on the roof of my Jeep Cherokee, straddling the sunroof, swinging a 20 foot extension cord I had fashioned into a lasso over my head when I got the call.
“We need your help,” step daughter Jo Ellen said. “He’s run back behind Joe’s Market.”
“He” is Charlie, our almost two year old mischievous Yellow Labrador Retriever who decided to tour Bruce Sunday afternoon rather than enjoy some family time in our front yard.
Granddaughter Addi Claire and I had been in the front yard taking advantage of the sunny, warm weather to practice soccer.

Joel McNeece

We had spent most of Saturday at FNC Park in Oxford where Addi Claire’s soccer team played two games. It was their “Day in the Park” where all the teams were playing. We got to enjoy one of Parker Murphree’s soccer games, and I walked over to watch Bailey and Brody Parker, of Bruce, playing as well.

This is just Addi Claire’s second season to play, having tried the game first at Bruce Park last fall with my encouragement and coaching. We didn’t want to lose momentum and Calhoun County, unfortunately, doesn’t have a spring soccer league, so I signed her up to play in Oxford.
She loves it. Her only regret is the wet weather hasn’t allowed her team much opportunity to practice in between games. I promised her we would work on some things to help her game and were doing that with her younger sister Ellie Kathryn giving us lots of pointers as well, despite the fact she’s never played the game. Ellie’s expertise on most any topic knows no bounds.

Grand number three, 10-month old Jack, was also out front walking around in the front yard with my wife Lisa trying to keep him out of the make shift soccer field.
Only Charlie, regularly referred to as “Poor Charlie” on Lisa’s instagram account, was still cooped up in the house, so we thought it was worth letting him out to be with the rest of the family. Charlie got a sniff of the action and then took off, as he’s prone to do, to explore the neighborhood.

The girls didn’t like the idea of him running wild around town out of our view so they took off after him. Addi Claire is usually pretty good at running him down eventually, so I decided to take advantage of the break in practice to attempt to get the very large broken limb dangling approximately 20 feet off the ground from one of the oak trees in our front yard. It’s been taunting me for weeks as none of the many storms we’ve endured have been enough to shake it free.

I didn’t have a ladder tall enough to reach or any tool that would extend that high, so I improvised. I couldn’t find a rope I thought I had, so I took one of the large green extension cords I use with the exterior Christmas displays every year and evoked my best memories of Roy Rogers swinging it overhead while taking aim at the protruding end of the broken branch.
I tried several throws from ground level first, to the laughter of Lisa, in between her pointing out how I was doing it all wrong, based on her extensive roping experience.

When she finally decided to go check on the girls’ chase of Charlie, I decided to make things a little easier by involving the Jeep.
I pulled under the limb and climbed on top and was ready to make the winning throw of the lasso when Jo Ellen called. She sounded in a bit of a panic and Joe’s Market is a pretty good jaunt from our house.

I hopped down, drove to South McSweyne and grabbed hold of my mud-caked dog with his tongue nearly dragging the ground – the girls’ too. I refused to put Charlie on my clean back seat, so the girls and I walked him home where he promptly got a bath.
It wasn’t but a few minutes later, it seemed, I heard Lisa scream, “Charlie!”

I came around the corner asking what’s he done now. He cleaned off the plate full of Snickerdoodle cookies she had just pulled from the oven.
“You’re on a roll today, son,” I said to the dog, encouraging him to keep his distance from Lisa for a bit.
Back in the front yard, standing atop my Jeep, I roped my large limb and pulled it down with ease with, of course, no one there to witness it.
It was that kind of day, a good day.