What are friends for? They can ease a heavy burden that crushed and crumpled to the ground destroying valuable properties.
That literally happened to a rural South Manteca resident when Friday’s estimated 45 miles per hour winds uprooted a trio of tall eucalyptus trees – one several decades old and the tallest of the three – came crashing down to the ground. The oldest and the leviathan of the three whose trunk measured four feet in diameter at its widest girth, perhaps even more, crushed the 2006 silver Chevrolet 3500 pickup parked next to the property owner’s shop on its way down to the ground when strong forceful winds whipped everything standing on its way.
Fortunately for Keith – he asked that his last name not be mentioned due to his job in law enforcement – he had friends with the right equipment that he direly needed in the face of that heavy catastrophe. His neighbor Robert Godfree, a United States Air Force veteran turned farmer after 22 years in the service, not only had his front loader parked behind his farmhouse next to his field currently planted with garlic just several yards away. He was also more than willing to extend a helping hand. Thanks to Godfree’s heavy farm equipment, the long and heavy eucalyptus tree was lifted off the crushed vehicle and shop, and the pickup pushed clear and away from the structure.
That was all done early Saturday morning. The night before, Keith saw what the strong and devastating winds wrought on his properties when he came home from work.
Several other neighbors and friends in the quiet neighborhood of scattered residential homes near the Stanislaus and San Joaquin rivers that line the levee stepped up to the plate to help Keith as well. They came armed with their power chain saws which were put to work cutting up the uprooted trees into firewood-size pieces.
Ironically, the paid-up truck was about to be sold to one of Keith’s friends. After the unfortunate incident, Keith called his friends to jokingly ask if he was still interested in buying the vehicle, only this time, one that will need some repairs.
The eucalyptus was not the only one that fell victim to Friday’s wind gusts. Just across the road from Keith’s house, almost to the top of the levee, is an old oak tree whose two-pronged trunks was much larger than that of the eucalyptus. Where the trunk divided not far up the ground was an ominous split that could easily send the tree crashing to the ground under strong wind gusts. The Reclamation District which owns the levee is reportedly planning to cut down the tree.