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.