Paso Robles: Oak TreeThirty feet out our front door was an enormous Oak well, for me it was enormous: three stories high and it would have taken four or five kids to reach around it. It housed screech owls whose babies drove everyone nuts nights and whom my father ordered the grounds crew to try to drown out with hoses several summers running. Then someone advised him the Oak was rotten and if it wasnt taken down it would fall down and hurt somebody. Men worked at it all day, dropping parts of limbs the thumps of which we could feel through our bare feet. It was exciting, actually, until we realized our tree was no more than a bare two-story trunk. Now we wished they could stop or put it back somehow but they told us to get back. After sawing here and there they put chains around the top and tried to pull it down precisely (between the corners of two backyard fences few feet to spare on either side). The trunk groaned and whined and gave us one last victory to cheer: suddenly snapping upright it tore the bumper from their pickup and flung it fifty feet across the street. They swore and hooked up more chains (to the axle this time) and after long, piercing, agonizing screams (from the tree we were awestruck) everything but the three-foot stump thumped down just where they wanted it. From then on the hollowed stump was full of geraniums which never made a peep nights.