Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

July 29, 2012

“THE TREE” BY: NEAL MURPHY – July 29, 2012

Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 5:52 am






I think Joyce Kilmer got it right when she penned these words – “I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.”  I like those words because I love trees as well.  Being reared in East Texas I am comfortable with the tall pines, and sturdy oaks.  I do not like the flat plains of West Texas where trees do not naturally grow.

I purchased my first house in 1965 while living in Houston, Texas with my family.  A grand total of $12, 500 bought me a modest three bedroom, one bath home on a corner lot in Bellaire, Texas.  Corner lots were at a premium at the time and I was a happy homeowner residing on Evergreen Street at Calvi Court with a monthly note of $95.00.  Life was good.

Several months later we were visiting my parents, Cecil and Alice, in San Augustine and I mentioned that it would be nice if I had a shade tree on my corner lot.  My mother suggested that I look around her two acres for a suitable tree and I could transplant it to my new corner lot.  I found a young tree approximately three feet in height, dug it up, and took it back to Bellaire in the trunk of my car.  I think it was a young pin oak.

I immediately dug a hole at a strategic location on my lot and planted the young tree.  I was pleased to be able to give a new tree a good home and hoped that it would provide shade from the hot sun in return.

The next morning I received a telephone call from my across-the-street neighbor, Mrs. Avery.  To my surprise she was quite upset that I had planted the tree on my corner lot.  I asked her objections and was told that the tree’s roots would clog the sewer line and cause all manner of other problems.  I politely thanked her for her concern but felt that she was in error.  I promised that if at any time in the future the tree caused any problems I would take appropriate action.   That seemed to satisfy her.

Three years later I had an opportunity to purchase a larger home in the Westbury area for $18,000 and gain a second bathroom and a two-car garage.  So, we moved from the Evergreen house and left my now teenaged tree behind for the next owner.  Eventually my first house and transplanted tree were forgotten amid new responsibilities.

In September of 2011 my daughter was in Houston and drove by our first home on Evergreen and took pictures.  I was shocked to see how large the transplanted tree had grown. Other trees and shrubs had been planted but my tree overshadowed them all.  I felt a sense of pride that this tall East Texas tree had flourished and provided a canopy of shade on the corner lot, even though I had not been able to enjoy it.  Yes, a tree can grow considerably in 46 years.

As Kilmer said in her poem, “Stories are written by fools like me, but only God can make a tree”.  I hope my tree continues to fulfill its destiny for many more years.  However, I am afraid that the old house will be purchased and torn down so a new one can be built and the tree taken down.  That would be a shame, however time and progress do march on without regard to sentimentality.


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