Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life or anything else that she finds amusing.
seen weekly in the Daily News of Kingsport. She has written
for Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
To carry her weekly column in your
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Online Since 1999
most people remember a tree that was important to them in some way,
either in childhood, or because of some special event in life.
My special tree was a walnut tree in the yard of the
house I grew up in. It was not even a full-grown tree at that
time, but the trunk split at just the right height to make a perfect
foothold for climbing the tree.
I played games underneath the tree and climbed in its shady branches
to sit among the leaves. I swung from a rather low branch and used it
as a trapeze. Another branch was just right for a rope swing with a
board for a seat. I spent many happy hours under the walnut
When I decided to write an article about trees, I had no idea what I
was getting into. I saw a story somewhere about an artist that
sketches trees that have a special significance attached to them. He
started by sketching a tree that was important to him, and as it
turned out, it was also significant to other people who saw the
It seems that trees are important to a lot of people, so important
that there is actually a National
Registry for Historic Trees. These are trees that are
landmarks or have historic importance. The Angel Oak of Charleston,
S.C. is a beautiful old tree believed to be 1400 years old and the
oldest living thing east of the Rockies.
Other trees are important because of events that happened near them,
such as the dueling oaks of New Orleans, where sword fights occurred
in the olden days. There are “hanging trees” near jails in
Texas and New Mexico. Jacksonville, Florida has a famous old live oak
tree where treaties were signed between settlers and the natives.
Boston had a elm in colonial times known as the “Liberty Tree” due
to its association with the American Revolution.
trees are associated with or named after a special person. General
Sherman, a giant Sequoia tree in California, is the world’s largest
tree and 3,500 years old! Methuselah, a Bristlecone pine in
California, is believed to be the world’s oldest living organism at
over 4,700 years old.
Some trees are so important they have a pedigree, such as two large
Tulip Trees planted by George Washington at Mt. Vernon. Seeds
from famous trees are actually gathered by an organization that sells
the seedlings so that you can buy and plant a tree that is the actual
offspring of a famous parent. Your backyard could become a living
Trees are often taken for granted until they are gone. Elms were a
popular shade tree at one time, but they were nearly wiped out by
Dutch elm disease. Millions of firs have been lost in the Smoky
Mountains due to imported insects that are toxic to the species.
Many old trees are cut down to make way for roads and buildings.
My walnut tree is gone, a victim of urban development.
Registry of Big Trees enables anyone to nominate trees to be
included -- in case you happen to have a piece of infamy growing in
your yard. The trees in my yard are not worthy of national
distinction. However, they are still special either because of who
planted them or because of other associations. I have a plum
tree, the lone survivor of four trees planted by my dad. My
Jonathan apple tree was planted by my late husband to honor a special
child and is the same age.
I also have a large silver maple tree that the kids in the
neighborhood seem to favor. The trunk on the tree splits at just the
right height for a child to be able to use it as a foothold for
Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219