Time to disem-bark

My work here is almost done.

I’ve had my roots planted in the southwest parking of the Morain house for nearly 100 years. Even the street is named for me.

I’m a maple — a hard maple, to be more precise.

And probably a Norway maple. That figures — Lois Morain was half Norwegian, so Rick and his siblings are a quarter that way. I’ve shared an affinity with the Morains for many decades, and it continues despite my creaks and crumblings.

And they are many. Lightning strikes have wreaked their special damage, tattooing long scars down my trunk. I’ve dropped many branches, some of them pretty large. What’s left in my crown is sadly devoid of much foliage, an affliction I share with Rick.

With every storm, Rick and Kathy have to clean up the branches and bark peelings I shed. The other day I dropped a big, heavy branch onto the street — missed the cars, but that was just luck.

Kathy called City Hall about two weeks ago and suggested they might want to come out and have a look at me. They did, but they have about 40 other trees in parkings around town that are even more decrepit than I, so I enjoy a temporary reprieve.     

But it’s only for a short time.

It’s been a great run.

When Fred and Lois moved the family into the house in the mid-1940s, I was already a handsome and stately maple. Fred was able to string a tire swing from the lowest branch on my west side, and the kids swung there for many years. They wore a bare patch on the grass below the tire every summer.

That branch is now long gone.

For many years it was my honor to serve as second base for the baseball diamond in the south yard of the house. Fred mowed base paths every May, and the kids kept them worn down all summer. First base was the southwest corner of the porch, third base was a spot by the south sidewalk and home plate was a little way west of the alley.

My trunk absorbed many a batted ball, which I helped to keep out of Maple Street.

I served as a starting point for games of Red Rover, the safe base for Gray Wolf, the home spot for Who Put the Weenie in Frying Pan, and a pivot for Fox and Geese. When Rick and his brothers built snow forts for Yankee and Confederate snowball battles, they sometimes used me for added protection.

I had my bugs, of course, many of them. Molly and her friends took to naming some of them, starting with Reddie, Greenie and Brownie, and working their way up to Carol, Doug and so forth. They built bug houses at my base.

Every fall, folks drove by slowly to admire my beauty. I dropped so many leaves that the kids could rake up huge leaf piles to jump into, or walk almost knee deep in. But those days are pretty well past — my leaf drop is pretty well done.

There’s no cure for old.

To quote Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season. A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.”

(Are you surprised I can quote the Bible? You shouldn’t be. What do you think it’s made of? Don’t think trees don’t know books. Like Rick and Fred, both printers, I’m pretty partial to paper.)

I hate to leaf all this, but Ecclesiastes is right: it’s time for me to disem-bark. And to paraphrase the Beatles, “Here Comes the Saw, and I say, it’s all right.”

So long, Rick, Bill, Steve, Tom, Deb, Dan, Molly, Dave, Matt, Bill, Bob, Doug, Bobby Glenn, Joe, Cam, Clarice, Diane, Dave, L.D., Nancy, Gary, Steve, Jim, Jim, Dave, Dave, Larry, Dave, Bob, Ken, Kevin, Molly, Ryan, Dana, Jodie, Jenny, Brenda, Jodie, Tod, Kevin, Bryan, David, Chith, Andy, Bret, Eric, Josh, Jamie, Dustin, Linda, Theresa, Pat, Seth, Justin, Gabe, Kyle, David, Steve, Kevin, Janet, Robin, John, Jim, Martin, Jack, Mike, Judy, and all the rest of you.

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Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161