Monday, May 21, 2012

The Tree And The Wide Open Spaces

When folks say that we all have a story to tell, that it so true. I know now that it

doesn't matter how small the story is but what we take away from it.

Today I was looking on Facebook when I ran across my friend Regina's comment. She basically

stated all that is needed is open space and a tree, and referred back to her tree

climbing days. I smiled and mentally went back to my tree climbing days. Thank you Regina

for this memory that took me back to that open space in my mind so very long ago.

I guess I was considered a tom-boy back in the day because I climbed trees with my

brothers, swung across canals from a tree stationed on one side, and laughed and ran just

as hard as they did. We made swings with tires and planks or boards too. Its a wonder that

we made anything work cause we sure did not know what we were doing.

On this one particular tree climbing experience, we would race to the tree to get the best

spot to sit down on.

Our next door neighbors, the Peterson's, had a tree in their front yard that was strong and

steady. The limbs on that tree were rather thick. I can't tell you what type of tree is was

but it bore large green leaves. Whoever got to the tree first would pick the best limb to

sit on because it could handle us kids for hours at a time.

The racing part actually came in handy when Richard Peterson's Doberman Pincher got out of

the back yard and chased us up the tree. That dog was almost as tall as I am now because it

seemed all I could see was paws and teeth as we climbed further up the tree. He must have

growled and barked at least ten minutes until Mrs Peterson came out and told her son to put

him back in side the gate.

To this day, I know I heard Richard under his breath say 'sic um'.

The tree in our yard was a Chinaberry.

The only things good about that was two fold. When the berries turned slightly red, we

would chew them up to get the ripeness from the juice and then spit them out. (We found out

later that they were not supposed to be eaten and that they could be toxic.) I can hear my

mother now saying "if you don't get them chinaberry's out of your mouth, you will wish you

had" or "If I have to tell you one more time" as her finger was shaking up and down


The other thing the berries were good for was to throw them on your unsuspecting friend and

the fight was on.

When the seasons turned and the Chinaberry's dropped on the ground and cluttered up the

yard, that was what I would call a "no good" thing.

All you could hear was muttering under the kids breath when they had to rake up all the

chinaberry's. Those berries did not stay in one spot when they fell either. Try taking the

chinaberry's off the bottom of your shoes...

Now the Tamarick Tree is another story: Someone named that particular piece of land

The Tamarick Inn

The older men used to sit under this huge tree on Buckeye Road on the Weekends. Most of

these men had spent their younger days in the clubs and to keep in contact with each other

in the their later years they met under the Tamerick Tree.

Most times the wives would give them a slab of ribs to bar-b-que while they were there and

bring it home in time for dinner. Well, the word got around that the pit was hot and others

starting bringing their meat. It was a small price to pay for them to fire up the grill

and make a couple bucks on the side. The next thing you know they had a table, a box of

Domino's, and a call for who has the winners.

These days, that same call happened on the home front with grills like these used by cousin

Roc in Texas when he threw everything from brats to chicken to slabs of ribs on the grill.

He also can be seen sitting next to a strong tree trunk showing off his Rough Rider helmet.

Some people take the plunge to a higher level by saying their vows in a tree: Take these

two people in Kansas found in 1900 by way of the Daily American Citizen Newspaper.

Happiness is truly what you make it.

In 1932 Mrs Mary Swanson posed for the camera for her birthday. She stated that she enjoyed

the beauty of trees. Personally I think she is a real beauty. It's remarkable looking at

this picture and knowing that she was once sold on the Auction Block.

Curious,I went to the 1920 census to see if I could find Mrs Swanson along with the

treasure trunk of leaves she may have started with a legacy rooted through-out her long

years. Here she is with daughter Winnie and son in law. (click on image for better view)

The 1925 Kansas Census shows Ms Swanson in the household with her daughter Winnie and son

in law Frank Maddox. Listed on line 3 her age is 85 born in Va but came to Kansas from

Alabama. (click on image for better view)

In 1930 Mrs Swanson is with son and family. She is a widow with 100 years attributed to

her by God's Grace. (click on image for better view)

And finally the tree where my ancestors are resting peacefully is situated at Little Flock

Cemetery in Navasota Texas under the shade of this beautiful tree. R.I.P.



Angela Y. Walton-Raji said...

What a beautiful article! You tell a story so well, and your incorporation of story telling as well as infusing the census records to compliment the story make this ma truly memorable piece!

Ms Vicky said...

Thanks so much Angela..