GFF Stories: A Box of Maple
[Ed. At the risk of providing too much insight into the personality of at least one of your farmers: we bring you the compelling story about a boy, a tree, a box, and a mission. Originally published in our Feb 2008 newsletter.]
Once upon a time there lived a family who had a backyard that was filled with one too many trees. The mighty pin oak and the sprawling locust had left very little sky for the maple tree to reach into with its sparsely leaved branches. While the tree had, in fact, grown to a respectible 20 feet in height and had a 3 inch diameter trunk, it was a bit sickly and was judged to be entirely too close to the humans' abode.
The decree came down from the parents of the household that the tree should be removed. And this task fell to their first child on a fine June day. Out he marched, with a saw and a branch pruner, determined to reward the trust placed in him to do the task efficiently and thoroughly.
Taking the tree down in manageable portions, it was soon reduced to a pile of brush. But, what should he do to prepare its transport to the city brushpile? The solution came in the form of one cardboard box that was slated for disposal. This box had once held an artificial Christmas tree. What better container to use for a downed maple?
In a careful and well thought out manner, the tree was cut into lengths that were very nearly a perfect fit for the length of the box. Any side branches were cut off of each limb. As a result, all of the larger branches and the trunk were placed lenghthwise in the box. And, happily, there was still plenty of room!
In went the small branches, covered with leaves. Anything that didn't fit well was trimmed down until it did. By mid-afternoon, there was no pile in the yard, just one box - complete with a lid that fit perfectly over the contents.
Upon the father's return from work, he went to the backyard and wondered out loud where the brush from the tree had gone. His son, of course, proudly pointed to the box.
"Son," he said evenly, "have you tried to move that box yet?"
To make a long story less long - it took a makeshift ramp and both of us to wrangle the box into the vehicle. Getting it out again was only a little less difficult. To this day, I wonder if Dad didn't force the transfer of brush to other boxes just to temper the disappointment I might have felt if we had done so.