Monday, June 21, 2004

The Trees in His Forest (Part II)

The reason I wanted to get that particular book for my dad is because of a conversation we had. I had gone morel hunting (this is type of edible fungus masquerading as a mushroom) and my dad had followed on his four-wheeler. Due to his numerous problems, the silicosis and asbestosis are only the tip of the iceberg, he doesn't walk the mountains much. We rode around together on the 70 acres they own. Those 70 acres are the reason my dad's body is worn out. Those 70 acres are his life-long dream. Its a working farm with 25 head of cattle, 6 cats and more wildlife than you can shake a stick at. There are gas roads all over the mountain so four-wheeling is easy. There's also timber, good timber, and lots of it. Estimates of its worth are six figures. A lot of the timber is veneer quality, that means there are no knots or limbs in the trees. The poplar canopy is 30-40 feet. That's where we stopped to look for morels, in one of the poplar groves, the canopy soaring above us. My dad, who probably has the first penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar that he ever made (don't spend your principal!), who worked like a dog his whole life to provide for us, who was the first in his family to graduate from college, who bought the farm not just to be a cattle farmer but also to harvest the timber, stood under those trees and said, "I just can't sell my trees. I just can't do it." I said, "Then don't Daddy." How can you sell something that owns you?
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