Chron Post: The roaming chainsaw gangs of Houston

Recent post on the Chron: The roaming chainsaw gangs of Houston.

Hurricanes bring about unexpected responses in us humans. It’s like the first time you see your dog or cat catch a squirrel and they go all primal on it. And you are looking at your little FeFe thinking “WHERE the $#(@ did they learn how to do THAT!?” And of course the answer is instinct.

And the morning after Hurricane Ike went over our house, once we accounted for our loved ones, our instinct was twofold.

  1. Clean up!
  2. Stay put

This makes little sense to me why these desires were so strong, but they were. Arguably a third response was “find a way to make coffee” but coffee is probably more an addiction than an instinct (and YES, you CAN make coffee on a gas grill). I’ll talk about the “stay put” instinct in a future blog post, but for now, let’s talk about that “clean up!” stuff.

So that morning we all wandered out of our houses, the wind from Ike still blowing, and began to assess the damage and clean up our yards. Yup, first response after a hurricane was yard work. Really. Dog instincts are much more interesting if you ask me. In instinct-heaven dogs are throwing squirrels 20 feet up into the air waiting for the bounce while I’m raking the yard. Baroo?

Anyway, there we were cleaning up the yard. Stacking branches by the curb. And cutting up the bigger ones with an axe left over from my Totin’ Chip days. Because I didn’t own a chain saw.

Then from elsewhere in our neighborhood emerged a strange phenomenon. The men who had the forethought to purchase chainsaws, once they finished cutting up their yards, moved to the neighbors’ yards. A small group of three of four would go in and cut up the tree limbs. And another larger group of men and teenagers followed and stacked the wood by the curb. What I observed was they did this for all comers responding to both requests and simply walking to a neighbor’s yard and getting started if they were in town or not! With no money changing hands.

Definitely the first self-organizing philanthropic chainsaw gangs I had ever encountered.

Read complete post here. And of course comments are encouraged on the Chron site!