Is this not the ugliest tree you’ve ever seen?
No, not that graceful river birch in the background. I’m referring to that wiry thing in the foreground.
It’s my newly planted tallow tree. I had been searching for one for months – ever since Norm and I moved to Dream Tree Bayou earlier this year.
I said to the gardener at the nursery, “Do you have any tallow trees?”
“No, ma’am. We don’t carry trash trees,” she answered.
Gasp! Did she really just call my beloved tree a trash tree? Seriously, there is no such thing as a trash tree. That’s like calling a child, or an animal, or any other being “trash.” There is simply no such thing.
There is dignity and worth in every living being. Except for roaches. There is no discernible value in a roach, especially those giant flying ones that we call “palmetto bugs” down here. I hate those things. I know – hate is a strong word, but I do believe they like to torment us lesser beings on purpose.
Like the time I was a teen and one was flying around my bedroom. I screeched in horror, calling out to my step-dad. “Dale! Hurry! There’s a roach! Help me!” I lost sight of him (the roach), so I jumped on the bed lest he find me on the floor. Roaches have a knack for finding you.
Dale came running dutifully, as he always did, though a tad exasperated with the women in the house always freaking out over roaches. “Just swat him, for crying out loud. He’s just a roach!” Dale looked around. “Where did he go?”
I started to panic. “I don’t know! I don’t know!” Suddenly, I felt a scratching sensation on my knee. It was the blasted palmetto bug crawling around on my bare leg! I screamed and convulsed until the frightened insect flew off of me. Dale swatted wildly until he killed the beast with his bare hand. Beowulf himself could not have performed more nobly. My dad. My hero.
So anyway, tallow trees are not roaches. They have value.
You see, Gentle Readers, we don’t get “fall colors” down here in the Bayou State. Foliage is green. Foliage turns brown. Done.
Except for the tallow tree. It graces our vista with crimson, and burnt orange, fiery yellow and muted browns as summer says its annual goodnight. I longed for a tallow tree in my yard.
I practically begged the gardener to get me a tallow tree. She asked, “You know they’ll take over, don’t you? You sure you want one?”
“Oh yes! That’s my plan – let them have the land that nature intended for them. Plus I won’t have so much to mow.”
“Ok. I’ll see if I can find one for you.”
She found two of them. So now I have two tallow trees, and I am hoping that in a few short years I will have dozens more.
Let’s look forward to autumn now, shall we? No, I won’t hurry summer (and my life) away by wishing for the future. I’m just dreaming. That’s easy to do here on Dream Tree Bayou.
Have a wonderful Labor Day, y’all, and enjoy what’s left of summer! ♥