StoryRhyme After Dark: Timber!

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By Harry Buschman


Strange you should mention a tree today. There was a man at my door in a hard hat... "Sorry," he said, "but that oak in your back yard..." There was a pause. Then he shook his head, "There's a crotch about half way up... it's right under our junction box on the 220 line."

I could sense what was coming. I knew that particular crotch was going to give me trouble some day.

He was a mean looking critter, but he looked like he needed an encouraging word, so I helped him along... "Has to come out... Is that what you mean to say?"

"'Fraid so." He shook his head. "Somebody planted it on our right-of-way, you know. Never should'a been planted there is the first place."

Well, I could tell him a lot about that oak tree. It was planted there by a gray squirrel one sharp November day about seventy five years ago. I saw him do it. He ran past my back door with an acorn in his mouth and dug a hole with his front feet, dropped the acorn in, covered it up and, as most squirrels do, forgot all about it.

The power line right-of-way wasn't there then. It was out front in the street where there are no trees. It wasn't strung along the back property lines of our houses until years later. By that time the oak tree had taken root and was already taller tham me. At the time that didn't seem to bother the power company, they went right ahead and strung their 220 line as if it wasn't there. That tree is also the grave marker for two canaries, a cat and countless goldfish and when it goes, I will check to see if there are seventy-five rings around the radius of its main trunk... I know there are at least that many around me.

(c) 2012 Harry Buschman
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