What does one do when a tree on the property you are in the process of purchasing gets damaged in a spring storm? Well, with a bit of ingenuity, a grasp of something which inspires and a lot of humor, you have that tree turned into a one-of-a-kind carving.
In the case of Chris Morrical, of Crescent City, he wasn’t sure what he should do with the damaged tree on the residence he hadn’t even closed on yet. He said he went and talked to his friend, Todd Pheifer, and it was Todd who suggested he have a wood carving done. Chris said he liked the idea and “a day later, I came up with the leg lamp” from the ever-popular movie “A Christmas Story.”
Morrical said, “I told some people and most people thought I was kidding … the people closest to me all said there was no doubt in their minds I was going through with it.” So, he set to searching for a person or company to bring his idea to fruition. It was on Facebook that he found “Top Notch Chainsaw Carving,” based in Naperville, and owned by its founder, Bill Baker.
Baker said it took about six hours in all to create the masterpiece. “We didn’t decide to do the crate until I was almost done with the leg,” Baker said. “I think it (the crate) tied it all together.” Morrical remembered Baker calling him with his idea of adding the crate and Chris said, “I thought that was an excellent touch.”
Before starting the project, Baker posted photos on his company’s Facebook page and the guesses started coming in on what the end creation would be. The company is well-known for its carvings of eagles, owls, bears, castles, Big Foot, benches and such. Baker noted on Facebook, “This was a different carving request but a fun one.”
For Morrical, “A Christmas Story,” which was released in November, 1983, was “one of my favorite Christmas stories and the lamp in the movie provided so much comedy.” The past five years he has kept a leg lamp in the window of his dining room.
He is glad the public is enjoying his wood-carving. He has set up temporary solar lights on the work but those will eventually be replaced with a better system. Baker sealed the work with Cabot Australian timber oil, and Morrical will need to reseal the piece each year to protect it from the elements.
When talking to Morrical, I made comment the work was something the previous owner of the property (Brenda Lynn St. Peter, deceased) would have enjoyed. Chris noted her daughter, Emily Majors, had commented on his Facebook page, “OMG that’s great … And we were worried about the tree getting hit.”