From The Publishers Desk (11/06/2014)
(See our article “In Remembrance of Trees” by Tammy Hilderbrand.)
I grew up in Williamsville on a large family farm along Black River named Rolling Shoals Farm. When I was young our farm was 2200 acres and two-thirds of it was forested with beautiful Missouri hardwoods and evergreens.
I loved to ride my mini-bike through the woods on the old Forest Service roads or walk across the ridge to my cousin Kenny’s house.
Toni and I lived in the old family homestead when we were first married. A friend from Israel, who had grown up in Oklahoma, came to visit. The second he stepped out of his car he bypassed me and went straight to one of the many huge old oak trees in our yard.
My 68-year-old friend, David, bear-hugged most of the trees in our yard but his arms could not make it but half way around most of them. He said that in both Israel and Oklahoma, he seldom saw such old oak trees and he wanted to breathe in their history. Though the sight was odd, my memory of that day has lasted.
When I heard of the 100-year-old sycamore tree cut down at Roxie and Maud in Poplar Bluff, my heart instantly recalled David’s tree embraces.
That sycamore was a sapling only a few feet tall when the men of its community were called to fight in World War I; on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, that tree stood about 30 feet tall while our nation mourned; and when thousands of lives were lost on September 11, 2001, that tree was working on its 83rd ring of life.
Though it is stating the obvious, 100-year-old trees are not easily replaced and I am pleased that the city of Poplar Bluff took action to prevent this from ever happening again. Some things, like tall, old trees, ought to be protected, not thrown away.