What is a monkeybox?

When I was a little girl, we had a pet monkey named Amanda. My Dad worked in the produce business, so each night he brought home that days culls in a big box - spotty cucumbers, pithy apples, limp celery, moldy oranges and the like. We called it a monkeybox. It was really just trash, but my Mom would take each piece of fruit and trim it, pare it and cut it up to make a beautiful fruit platter for Amanda. Even though it was deemed trash by one, it still had life left in it and was good for the purpose we needed it. That's how I live my life - thrifting, yard saling, looking for another's trash to be my treasure.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If Trees Could Talk

One of the favorite things in my small town is the large number of old trees that dot the area. The cemetary and school yards are full of huge old historic trees. They show the first sign of buds in the Spring, they show the first tinge of orange in the Fall. They provide much needed shade at funerals and at Decoration Day. They shade the cars in the prking lot at school. Until about six years ago, there was a field on the main corner in town with a beautiful grove of Walnut Trees in the center. I took DS there when he was little to sit under them, pick up walnuts and try to hug the tree - he and I together couldn't even begin to get our arms around it. One day we happened to be driving past the corner and much to our dismay, they had cut down these magnificent trees. DS was about to turn five at the time. He asked me "Why, would they DO that?" I told him they would most likely build a store there so they had cut down the trees. We walked around the piles of limbs and salvaged a piece of Walnut for our rock garden. He stood on the stump of the tree, stomped his foot and shook his little fist as he said, "I will NEVER shop at this store!" A week or so later we passed by the barren corner and I noticeda sign had been erected at the street front: "COMING SOON: McDONALD'S." I read this to DS as he looked out the window at his corner that he remembered so well, once chock full of beautiful Walnut Trees, but now just a dirt lot. Then, in a very timid voice he said, "Well, you don't really shop at McDonald's." Ah, my little Nature Lover, turned bad by the lure of a Happy Meal.

They are widening the highway that runs through town and adding in a turning lane. By doing this, many old trees have gone by the wayside. When they built the new high school about ten years ago, the PTA and various student organizations planted trees in honor of and in memory of diferent people. About a month ago, we watched as giant machines swooped in and knocked those trees over like they were sticks, picked them up, put them in a dump truck and drove off with them. Now there is no shade, no beauty, nothing. Oh, they will plant a neat little row of Bradford Pear Trees in their place, but you cannot replace a 10 year old tree with a sapling.

Yesterday we drove by the school and we were so saddened to find that they had cut down an immense tree. It is honestly one of my very favorites. DS and I admire it every day on the way to school. In the Spring, it buds first, in the Fall, the leaves turn a brilliant orange and in the winter it has twisty turny branches that look like a Halloween tree. It is beautiful. Or, rather, it was beautiful. I always have my camera with me, which has proven to be a good thing once again. The girth of this tree was probably over four and a holf feet across. It just makes me sad that such a gorgoues old tree would be cut down just to make room for three or four more parking spots. A shame.

I know that progress is necessary and buildings must be built and highways must be widened. But, sometimes I think that peopel take the easy way out and just knock things down rather than going around them or working it into the plans. I would liked to have shown my grandchildren trees that were 150 years old and not trees that they are just now planting.


  1. Anonymous1:28 AM

    "I speak for the trees" says the Lorax...I am sad for th eloss of a beautiful piece of God's Shade...UGH. That;s actually TOTAL BS about the trees planted in honor taken OUT...I would have gone to the &*^()&*%&* school board...that is AWFUL!


  2. Anonymous1:54 AM

    So sad. It's such a sad sight that tree. It's probably had seen alot of things happen in front of it in it's lifetime.

  3. Not sure if it is just our state, but trees are highly regarded in Tx. There is some rule for builders that a certain # of current trees must remain and something like 5 new trees must be planted for every ONE that is cut down.

    I wish I had a pic of the tree replanting that just took place here. The city is building onto our rec center and they used this humongous machine that had an icecream scoop looking thing on it that went in under the roots and just scooped it out. They have moved several trees to the barren soccer fields, so now they will have beautiful shade trees.

    With the recent flooding, our city park lost several gigantic trees. I'm sure they will replant something, but some of these were 100 plus yrs. old.

    I am sad for your local trees.

  4. Anonymous4:16 PM

    I am very sorry. We are having a lot of discussions here in our town in NC about the loss of trees. They cut down these huge, beautiful trees, build something, then plant these puny little things in their place. It's just like the Joni Mitchell song "...they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot..."


  5. Boy, I know the feeling of the way trees provide just such a tremendous touch to an area. I so miss the giant old maples on the next street! The colors, birds and the way they subdued the noise was remarkable! I am always sad for days when a big tree is removed, I have even told my family I was going to come back as one! Guess that's why my favorite books is "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" ! SO sorry your sad! Lori

  6. Olive lives in a different part of Texas than where I am from, I'm a San Antonio native. There was a big controversy because Lowe's cut down a bunch of extremely old trees to build a store - after the promised they would leave the trees alone. I think it's very sad. Progress is not automatically bad, but it should be done with some sense. Which seems to be lacking. The trees should have been left alone!


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