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Old Trees And Memories — By John Reed

Old Trees And Memories
I’ve written before about the remnants we leave behind. Friends and family keep memories of us, our “digital presence” lives on. Facebook still reminds me of birthdays of long-dead students I taught: a little creepy. Another remembrance of past generations shows up in plants.
Drive down any country road. If you see roses blooming in the wild, chances are there was a house there once. That’s usually true with crepe myrtles, too. Long ago, someone lived there. They tended their garden, lived, grew old and died…but their flowers live on. Sometimes that’s the only sign that anyone was ever there.
Another sign is less obvious at first. If you live with a pecan tree in your yard, you may not think much of it. It might not even mean much if your neighbor has one, too. But try to take a longer look down the street: soon you’ll notice every house has a pecan tree or two. If you look carefully, a pattern emerges…a grid becomes visible, straight lines front to back, side to side. You’re living in the middle of an orchard!
There are at least two such orchards in town. One can be seen among the houses on Burkett’s Ferry Road, the other out south Cromartie/Bell Telephone road. Long before houses were built there, likely before streets were laid out, enterprising planters sowed pecan trees. I’ll bet Barnie can shed light on them.
A few have died or been removed for progress’ sake over the years. But the patience of the original landowners has been repaid time and again as these majestic trees continue to watch over us. Every three years or so, a crop of nuts fall, to be run over by mowers, raked up, or even picked up by eager bakers.
Every time I eat a pecan pie, I think of those trees, living reminders of generations past. What will we leave for future generations? Long after these words crumble, I hope my descendants will enjoy the grapes from my vineyards and profit from the timber I’ve set out. The old adage says you reap what you sow, but in a way, all we do is sow. The harvest may be centuries in the making.

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