Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Dale has been retired six years. But he quit drinking 25 years ago, and quit smoking cigarettes in the early 70s. Illicit drugs? Try over 100 years ago.

For fun, Dale climbs trees.

"The hardest tree to climb is a Spruce. You have to climb on the outside of the tree, because it's so prickly."

"My favorite trees to climb [pause] are the Sugar Maple and Burr Oak. There are a bunch of Burr Oak trees in this area."

I had to ask Dale how to spell Burr Oak, because I thought he was going on about Baroque trees; my fumble didn't even elicit a smile.


1) Burr [more commonly spelled Bur] Oak trees are some of the most massive and slow growing of the Oak trees, and can live for huuunnndreds of years. They grow solo, hans solo, away from forrest canopy. The tree pictured below is rooted 300 feet from my parent's house, not sure if it's a Burr Oak, but I envision zebras and gazelles trading afternoon gossip beneath its huge swell of cool shade.

2) Sugar Maples: from which both pancake-syrup and bowling alley pins are born!

3) Have you ever climbed a tree? It's kinda freaky. I used to climb as a kid, but then freeze at the top, "Daaaad! Help! I can't get down!" Last month, I had to climb about five different trees. I was helping my dad clear the sight lines from his various deer stands. [If he didn't have a clear shot of me in the tree from a particular opening in the field, he wouldn't have a clear shot of a deer while seated in the stand. Trees grow between hunting seasons, duh, so we had a lot of work to do. With rope, we tied mini-saws to long branches to trim other living branches hanging twenty feet above our heads. I was pretty slow at task; I had to stop every few minutes to bend over at the waste and let my arms hang and rest. So Dad had me mostly climb and hug, for deer life. "Whoooaa, Nellie!"]

Dad shot his first buck (bow and arrow) last weekend, and hopes to fill the freezer after opening gun weekend, which is this weekend. When the area men go Up North to hunt, the ladies hit the bars [and the strip clubs, so I hear].

I've got plans to hit two local dives this weekend: Houge's and Acee Deucee. I've invited some of the ladies from work. Age doesn't impede on the party round these parts. I'm sure to get an earful of bizarro stories including: "woods" "that one time" "wasted" "cousin" "field" "pregnant" and so on... Can't wait!


  1. I had a great climbing tree in my backyard where I grew up, a big ol' suburban oak-mutt-something. It was the envy of the neighborhood: low, thick branches to get you started, several routes to different peaks, plenty of bird nests and squirrel perches along the way... That tree broke many a kid's arm or ankle, and when... Waitaminnit. Dale stopped taking illicit drugs more than 100 years ago? And he's still climbing trees?

  2. No decent Chinese food around here.