Home Obituaries Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: My Yellow Tree & Dead Germs...

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: My Yellow Tree & Dead Germs Pile Up


My Yellow Tree

YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out my window on Main Street, and I’m tired of the protestors — black and white — tearing up cities. Their point has been made, and it is pretty obvious that some significant changes are underway in combatting racism.

The continued destruction of property makes me agree with the president about sending in fed troops to defend government buildings.

But stupidity abounds. Rutgers University, which is the state university of New Jersey, is de-emphasizing grammar. I am guessing here that Rutgers is speaking about written responses in the classroom.

One article says their reasoning is that requiring proper grammar puts black students at a disadvantage. To me, it seems Rutgers is saying black students are not capable of learning and using proper grammar. My opinion is that they are shortchanging black students.

I don’t believe anyone is owed a college education. They are owed the opportunity to go get it.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. I’m sure that my neighbor, David Rauls, is happy to see that ‘his’ crow foursome has moved south to my rooftop. From that vantage point they can watch me put out peanuts which were originally meant for jays and cardinals. As soon as my back is turned the crows swoop in. Their large wings generate so much wind that most of the peanuts are blown off the little table where I put them. The other birds scatter. Except for the mockingbirds.

I also have a large contingent of mockingbirds and they don’t give the crows much peace. These crows are so large that I’m wondering if we might not have an influx of ravens.

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THE GOOD EARTH. I had an idea a couple of years ago. I wanted to plant a tree that would have glorious fall foliage. After I was gone, people would drive by ‘the old Graves place’ by just to see the tree. They would say, “A crazy old man planted that tree.”

My nurseryman buddy Robert Nannemann suggested I plant a ginko tree. It would have wonderful vivid yellow leaves in the fall, he said.

I got myself a ginko. It was already almost three-feet tall. I dug a hole in the side yard, but  I started running out of steam before I could put the ginko properly into the hole, so I might have done a poor job. After packing the dirt around the root ball I noticed that the tree was not straight up-and-down and had a decided tilt toward the south.

I now think that in the late spring, before I could put protection around the tree, my lawn guy’s mower may have accidentally nicked the tree trunk. I noticed some damage to the bark at that time but thought it would repair itself.

Later that year my daughter Julie helped me (1) clear the grass away from the tree; (2) surround the base of the tree with that black mesh stuff that lets rain thru but doesn’t let weeds come up; (3) cover the mesh with a thick layer of cedar mulch; (4) surround the mulch with a double stack of river rocks to keep the mulch from washing away.

Before the leaves turned that fall, I noticed that some of the young tree’s limbs were now bare. That was the ginko’s first summer and fall.

Next year after the tree leafed out I noticed that again I had some bare limbs. I trimmed most but by the time October rolled around I was down to one limb with leaves.

This spring the leaves came out again but only on the one good limb. I trimmed away all other limbs.

But now, it’s the end of July and even though I have kept the tree well-watered, the leaves on the last limb are turning brown.

I guess the tree is dying. Killed by my incompetent planting and the rubbing by a riding mower.

If this tree really is dead I’ll know by October. I’ll order another tree and plant it correctly. This time I will have rocks and mulch in place to keep riding mowers at a safe distance.

And I hope that even I will have some years to enjoy brilliant yellow fall foliage.

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REMEMBERING. After reading the creative obituary on Perry Rice in this issue of the newspaper, I recalled his parents. Harry Rice was a master mechanic working — I believe — at the Case Cutlery plants here. Occasionally the old ‘Nashville News’ flatbed press would break down and no one could fix it. Case would let Harry come to the office on South Main and he’d have it figgered out and roaring again in a jiffy. He had a magic touch with things mechanical, which Perry inherited.

Perry’s mom, Ina, won a bunch of ladies golf championships at the Nashville Country Club. She was what you would call a witty lady.

Perry was his own man and was quite a man at that.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening (and believing) anonymous emails: A Gardening Rule — When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. 

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WORD GAMES. Another set of siblings: Cash & Carry. They like to buy things and take immediate possession.

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HE SAID: “Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” Sitting Bull, leader of the Hunkpapa Lakota

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SHE SAID: “Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.” May Sarton, poet and novelist

Dead Germs Pile Up

YES, I AM STILL HERE looking out my window on Main Street, and I am wondering where all the dead germs go.

Seriously, we’ve been battling this stupid virus for months and months, now, and nearly all of us have been killing germs by washing our hands, wiping door handles with sanitized hankies, and trapping our own breath germs inside a facemask.

I realize those germs are tiny, but after awhile they’ve GOT to mount up. A few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon you’ve got a handful.

They will mount up, but I bet people will ignore the city’s instructions to leave trash carts of dead germs streetside. Some will leave the carts out for days even after the deadline.

And how do we dispose of dead germs anyway? Burn ‘em with old yard debris? Chemicalize them and dump ‘em in Lake Chiffon? Bulldoze them into a bottomless pit at the regional landfill? Ideas anyone?

I could spend more time on this subject but right now my mind is occupied by our town’s opportunity for a combination Facemask Enforcement Officer and Downtown J-Turn Enforcement Officer. Armed and in uniform of course. And officially deputized.

I’ll ask the mayor about it. He hasn’t exactly offered me the J-Turn job yet, but maybe by combining it with the Facemask job he could see that the city is getting two-for-one. It just sounds like an opportunity we shouldn’t ignore.

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WHAT AN ATHLETE! NHS golf phenom Ellen Spigner, a junior class member and hotshot on the Scrapperette links team, scored her first hole-in-one recently. Her dad advises she hit a 9-iron over the water on the short Number 9 hole on the Nashville Country Club course.

Just for the record, Ellen also excels in basketball and softball.

Not a lot of people know this, but Ellen’s maternal grandfather, Dave ‘Buddy’ Ryan, has been recognized as the best snare drummer in the history of the Scrapper band. If you don’t believe me look it up. I’m sure it’s on the Internet somewhere.

I am very familiar with NCC Number 9. Years ago when I played golf I skillfully hit many balls into that pond.

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THE DANGERS OF FACEMASKS. I am almost ashamed to tell you that I tried to lick the bbq sauce off my fingers when I went through the serving line at the Rotary Club meeting, last week. I am ashamed because I had forgotten I was wearing a coronavoid facemask. The innocent lick smeared the bbq sauce all over the front of the mask.

And I wouldn’t even be telling you this except I have heard about someone who is even more ashamed at his own facemask accident. This person forgot that he was: (1) wearing a facemask; and (2) had a mouthful of Redman chewing tobacco.

Then he spit.

I wonder how long it’ll be before Redman is forced to change its name?

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. Maybe my heart will stop pounding soon. On a recent pre-dawn walk around the neighborhood a horrible screeching noise behind me gave me a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. The noise sounded close and directly behind me. I whirled around but couldn’t see anything. Then I realized I was hearing a cicada.

This one had an almost metallic sound, like someone running a tablesaw. I didn’t know cicadas started buzzing in the early morning.

I would prefer it not happen again. It’s hard enough to make myself get out of bed and walk each day without having a tablesaw chase me down the street.

MORE ANIMAL CRACKERS. I saw old Sam coming down the middle of the street by my house. He was trotting at his usual pace, not slow, not fast. It was still very dark, about 5 a.m.

And Sam is old. He’s blind and cannot hear, yet here he was three blocks from home. I’ve seen him range like this in the dark before, and I knew he’d be able to find his way home.

Sam is a wonderful old black lab who for years (when he could see and hear) would trot out from his porch to take a doggie treat from my hand.

He is one of the breed of hunting dogs that apparently use the Earth’s magnetic field to find their way back to the hunter, no matter how far the dog has ranged into a forest or swamp.

I read about these dogs in an article about some scientists in Czechoslovakiakiakiakia who have been studying important stuff. The scientists (they spell scientist the same way in Czechoslovakiakiakiakia as we do) think this is linked somehow to their very important research that discovered that some dogs use their magnetic sensitivity to line up perfectly north-south before taking a poop on your freshly-mowed lawn.

It’s the sort of thing I thought you’d like to know.

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WORD GAMES. Another set of siblings: Plain and Simple. No adjectives needed.

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HE SAID: “We are one people with one family. We all live in the same house … and through books, through information, we must find a way to say to people that we must lay down the burden of hate. For hate is too heavy a burden to bear.” John Lewis, U.S. Congressman from Georgia

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SHE SAID: “The reaction of the public plays a very important role. It gives us an adrenaline boost, especially when people start to shout and clap their hands in time with the music. That really helps us to go on.” Simone Biles, U.S. Olympian

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