It was the poet Joyce Kilmer who wrote, “I think that I shall never see, a greater pain in the rump than a tree!” No wait, sorry about that. It was his wife Aline, who was sick and tired of all the stupid rewrites. I’m starting to agree with her and I actually love trees. I used to be one hundred percent in Joyce’s camp until the last three years. What changed my mind? It was years of work and effort to try and get a tree put in my back yard. Now isn’t that ironic.
Before I get to the meat of the story, I would like to clarify a couple of things. The first is something that has been on my chest for a very long time and I feel it needs to be said: Joyce is a stupid name for a man no matter if he is a poet or not. There I said it. I know some folks use their middle name when they have a bad first name, I get that, and his first name was, in fact, Alfred. As bad as he may have thought that was, Joyce was not a good replacement. It makes him sound like a drag queen, not a poet. If he hated Alfred that much, he could have gone with A. J. Kilmer, or Al J. Kilmer, or even Jo Kilmer. Heck Kilmer Joyce would have been a better name for a guy than Joyce Kilmer.
Can’t you see him showing up at your local bar, pub, or tavern? He’d march in, order a beer, and say to the three-hundred-pound gorilla next to him, “Hello, my sprightly friend. My name is Joyce. And a great big howdy doodly doo to you.” A biker dude would to beat the stuffings out of him for sure. I’m sorry, but I know some tea houses where the old ladies would knock out for a man having a name like Joyce. This is just not a good way to go through life.
The second thing I wanted to mention before I began my story is that where I live there trees everywhere. Every construction project starts with some plot of land being cleared of trees. This invariably takes so long that their building permit expires and instead of paying more money, the developer goes and renovates some other building. Then the trees grow back and three years later the whole thing starts over again. I guess it’s a good system. It keeps people employed long term and there are a lot of green spaces.
In fact, five years ago this all happened, and our local park system bought the cleared land. So, we are probably the only city in America that cleared fifty acres of indigenous land so we could grow indigenous trees on it. My friends and I are still wondering who got a kickback for that one. Our park system is also known for purchasing under used golf courses, covering them with trees, then deciding they could make a profit putting in a nine-hole golf course. The courses are small but boy do they have some strange looking fairways.
My point to all of this, is that where I live, people like trees. No, we love trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has declared us a Tree City for the last bazillion years in a row. If you come within fifty miles of where I live, you can barely see houses because of all the trees. There are trees everywhere except for one place; My back yard. Oh, my back yard used to have three trees in it, which is the start of my story.
I live in a housing development and there are strict rules about what can and can’t be done with the grounds. Well, as I said I had three trees in my space. The grass was dead because of the shade and large roots were growing above the dirt. When the lawn was mowed the dry dirt kicked up a dust storm, and for two hours no one on my street could breathe due to the lingering brown cloud. My neighbor, Mr. Simply, has emphysema and had to shut himself inside every time they mowed which is four times a week in the summer months. When the mower went over the roots it would throw hunks of wood at my windows. After one of them cracked my French Door, I knew something had to be done.
I called the association and informed them of the lawn and roots. Somebody came out and said they would have to prune back the center tree. This would let the light in, the grass would grow and force the roots down. Great plan, I approved. Then a guy showed up with a chainsaw along with the association lady, looked at my trees and suggested that the whole center tree come out. Why? Because The fragoria behind the rachis, would be greetsed with nassse if only a pruning was performed. So now you know.
I didn’t understand a word of what was said but the lady agreed. The manager of the landscaping company had to come, and check out the situation. Well, he came, and he looked at my trees for a while, then concluded they were Hawthorne trees and were too close to the house and were damaging the foundation. He soon had the lady agreeing to removing all three trees.
I screamed, “Hang on a sec! I don’t want to lose all my trees. Can I get one planted in their place?” I was assured this was possible. So, I reluctantly agreed. A week later they were gone. I asked when the new one was coming, and was informed summer was the wrong time of year to plant a tree. What? But I acquiesced.
That fall I asked the management people when I could expect my new tree? I was informed there was no plan to get me a tree. If I wanted a tree, I shouldn’t have had the others taken out. What? Again. I screamed, “It wasn’t my idea!” but were they unwilling to listen? NOPE! I could however bring it up at the next budget cycle.
I waited; you can bet I was right there when it was budget time with my request written in triplicate. I was informed, no trees were going in. The budget was going for trimming of dead branches. For two more years I made a pest out of myself begging for a tree. I was told, “NO” in every way possible and in several different languages. I gave up, a broken man
Then the Christmas Miracle happened. On January seventeenth, workmen showed up in my yard and with great effort, dug a hole. They put into the frozen ground, an Ivory Silk Japanese Lilac tree. I called the management company to thank them. They knew nothing of it. I called the landscaping firm. It wasn’t them.
To this day I have no idea where it came from. But I’ve posted a 24-hour guard with orders to shoot to kill.
In my neighborhood We really love our trees!
Thank you for laughing and Please read a little longer
Thank you all for laughing with me, but I need to be serious. Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency is a genetic disease which rots the liver and lungs. There is no cure. The only help for people is to have a weekly infusion of proteins to stop the spread. For the next few months I will be taking all my proceeds and donating them to the Alpha-1 Foundation who are searching for a cure to this horrible malady. You can give here or for more information go to Alpha-1.org Thanks for supporting world laughter, and finding a cure. Laugh On