Kenneth Watson has been in the tree trimming business for 50 years this spring having started in 1970.
Watson, 76, is a Mt. Enterprise grad from 1962 representing a class of 14.
(He remembers back to another trimmer in the area that did the work full time.)
“I had a truck,” he said. “I got a trailer later.”
He didn’t have lifts or booms, or a bucket truck.
“We had spurs on the boots and we knew how to climb,” he said.
“I hired a Cherokee Indian. He knew how to work the ropes,” Watson said. “He was with me for about 20 years. He was the best tree-man I ever had.”
According to Watson, there were pole saws back then and chainsaws were as good then as they are now.
There were all sorts of interesting situations over the years, but Watson remembers a particular nasty one.
“There was a tree uprooted on one end of a house and going all the way across the house and it landed into some trees on the other side of the house,” he said.
“We used a crane to hold the tree and worked from the top back to the stump,” he said.
Looking back over the years, Watson remembered a particularly funny incident.
“We were taking down a tree in Overton. There were some honey bees in the tree,” he said.
“We worked around them. When we took out a section, the bees came out,” he said. “(They) came right back out at the cutter. He got stung about 40 times.”
According to Watson, there was no adverse reaction to the cutter.
Watson, however, said he ran about two blocks towards the lake and was fixin’ to jump in,” he said.
Watson has worked in and around the Longview-Tyler area, and as far away as Houston, Dallas and LaGrange, and every little town in between.
“I’ve worked a lot of storm damage removal,” he said. “But every time they have a storm, we have a storm.”
In those situations, Watson stays in the Rusk County area.
Back in the day, Watson acquired a chipper, one of two in the area in the 1970s.
“I used the money off it to pay for it,” he said. “We had a big job in Frankston that paid $1,000. I paid it off a little at a time.
Probably the most unique incident, Watson recalls, happened about 40-feet off the ground.
“We had a guy hooked up on the rig working on a branch beneath him,” Watson said. “He cut the limb half off when it broke loose from the trunk. It was about 10-12 inches around, pretty big. That was something you would never think would happen.”
Watson likes to go fishing and work on his house these days.
He has been married to Jackie for 15 years. She has two children, a boy and girl, six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Watson has a daughter and two grandchildren.