Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Row of Sycamores...

While I sat in the dentist’s chair there’s not much to look at except the ceiling, the funky overhead light and the dental hygienist when she’s scrapping the remnants of things I’ve eaten over the past six months off my teeth. After the cleaning I waited for the dentist to see how dedicated I have been to the preservation of my teeth, I tilted my head and I saw a tree, a row of trees, actually—sycamores, that line the street. The tree brought back more than a few memories…

If you grew up in a small town, maybe someone created a “You know you grew up in__________ when…” Facebook site. Here’s the link to ours: Hometown Memories. I can’t believe how many memories have flooded back into my consciousness from that site.

As I sat and waited I looked at the tree it made me remember. I remembered a grocery store that once stood just north of those trees, and the center tree—I remember that center tree. It once had a UTA bus run into it during a snowstorm. I don’t think the bus was going very fast. It left a scare that I’m sure has long since healed.

I remember the afternoon daily newspaper used to drop their undelivered papers underneath that tree and my brother (and others…) would roll them, wrap a rubber band around the roll and put them in the canvas bags that straddled their handlebars of their Schwinn Stingray’s.

The tree also shaded my brother, sister, and I as we sat in front of a grocery store and sold our recently picked cherries from the four large cherry trees in our yard. We sold them to customers going in and out of the store. We had a little card table and a small scale and we charged 35¢ a pound for those delicious, worm-free cherries. It’s hard to believe they allowed us to sell our fruit in front of the store considering the store probably sold the same products to customers as well.

So much as changed. The store is gone, the sidewalk that rose and dipped from the huge roots of the sycamores as they dug deeper to protect themselves from the vicious east winds the community is famous for has been replaced. Where asphalt once was young trees grow hoping one day to reach the size of their elders. But as I look out the window while I wait for the dentist to give me the “Your teeth look great” speech, I see the tree and think about its history and how it interacts with my own.

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