Hello. Mr. Huckleberry, how in the world are you? I say, hello, Mr. Huckleberry, how in the world are you?
Oh, pardon me. I was just strolling around in my private arboretum and talking to my trees. I do that a lot. My neighbors roll their eyes. I do have a small arboretum, just a microcosm of a real forest. It’s been going on quite a while.
When Frosty and I bought a house, we would have liked for it to be in a forest, with only the absolute minimum number of trees cut to fit a house in there. T’was not to be. Just a scraped, fill dirt little lot. I immediately set about planting some trees. Now, for instance, in addition to many others, there are five pines — that I planted — that would make Yella Fella’s mouth water. Huge loblollies. But there’s others, too.
Water oaks, sweet gums, dogwoods, a gingko, a poplar (tulip tree), a champion class pop corn tree, a sugar maple, etc.
There are three special favorites: my sister gave me what she thought was a chinquapin. Turned out to be a chinquapin oak, a member of the white oak family. It suffered a tragedy: a huge tree fell on it and bent it.
I doubted that it would survive, but it did … and flourished. New growth from along the trunk and at the base. Very interesting. And, nearby, there’s an American elm that is growing up a storm.
Then there’s the huckleberry I mentioned.
I’ve looked in tree books and I’ve never seen an entry for what we call a huckleberry. For that, they say it’s some kind of a wild blueberry. Nope, that’s not what we call huckleberry.
There’s magic about a huckleberry. Nobody ever planted the huckleberries of my lifetime.
They just … are. If you knew where one was when you were six, it’s still there, unless some dummy cut it down. The one at the ridge field is a perfect example. It’s right by the cotton house there. In fact, it kind of holds up what’s left of the cotton house, just as it always did.
Or, how about the one at the corner of the orchard piece? Just like it was when I was a small boy.
And me’n Howard’n Herschel used to meet the school bus at Grandma’s house. Just down the road, sticking out of a solid red clay bank by the road, were a couple of huckleberries.
When they were ripe, we’d go to school with our mouths and surrounding areas an exotic shade of blue. If they hadn’t gone and paved the road, I’m sure they’d still be there.
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@gmail.com.