John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.27.05
Fool's Hollow, Quebec


Return of the Branch Manager

FOOL'S HOLLOW, QUEBEC | Jim Jory is 80 now, but he's still a good man to have on your side when you have tree problem.

I had two problems this past week.

One was the black cherry tree that fell on our Hydro Quebec and Bell Canada lines shortly after midnight last Tuesday.

tree over car
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

The other problem was Hydro Quebec's refusal to do anything about the first problem for approximately one month.

Their official position: The power line was not snapped and writhing on the ground like a deadly snake, ready to fatally bite us in the ass and kill us.

No, the power line was sagging badly from the weight of the tree trunk but we still had juice so, really, we did not have a problem, n'est ce pas?

If I pulled on the tree's branches, I asked the first Hydro Contact Lady, I could break the line and then I would have an emergency, eh?

She agreed that would constitute an emergency outage but she didn't think that was a good idea. In fairness, she tried to get the repair crew to come.

The second Hydro Contact lady made it clear to the Silver Fox that three weeks was the best they could do, but maybe a month or more. She wouldn't speak to me. She may have been warned that I was another crazy Anglo, although I never raised my voice or even lapsed into my usual mode of sardony when dealing with fonctionnaires.

On Day Three I called Jim Jory, the local Branch Manager. I told him my story. Jim laughed.

"I'll be there in a few minutes.&;quot;

Now, I told you Jim is 80. But he's not a rocking-chair, repeater of old stories 80.

Jim is a small, wiry man and tough as nails from a lifetime of hard work climbing tall trees and using a power saw.

Jim Jory
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

We set up a long ladder and he scampered up it like a teenager with a developed work ethic. Only today's teenagers don't work like Jim.

Zip, zip, zip and the branches were trimmed off the trunk. He's leaning out off the ladder, power saw in one hand, and I'm about to piss myself. No problemo for Jim, however.

Jim Jory
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

He tosses a heavy line over the small end of the tree, which he has already undercut, and we yank it down. The trunk falls to ground, the power and telco lines spring back into place.

Within minutes Jim has the trunk bucked up onto stove-length hunks and he's outta here. Elapsed time: one hour.

Jim Jory
FujiFilm S20 Pro © 2005 JOHN MAHONEY

The Silver Fox calls Hydro back and cancels our emergency fall. We took care of it, she told the Contact Lady, whose only question was: "Well, did we hire a professional?"

"Tell her he's 80 years old," I hissed in my snarky way. "Tell her how old Jim is…&;quot;

But she woudn't let me talk with her.

Jim's coming back in the autumn, when the leaves have fallen. He reckons I have about a dozen more trees that need dealing with.

Listen, if you live along the Quebec/Vermont border and you have a tree problem and need a Branch Manager, call Jim Jory: 819.876.7289.

He'll soon put you right and Bob will be your uncle.