Header image of buckthorn by Mason Brock (Masebrock) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Today’s post comes from tim
grandpa bob was my first wifes dad
salt of the earth
high school teacher in milwaulkee
he grew up building houses with his dad in the 50’s and ended up getting a job as a school teacher where he could just show up for work and not worry about business. he kind of trudged through his day.
somewhere in his career he got hooked up to be the guy to look after the field trips for the school kids in the milwauklee school district. he got to take them for walks in the parks and discover how to tell the trees by the bark and the leaves he got to be the guy who did the planetarium show and push the buttons and recite the planets and stars
he got to do lake michigan and the brewery tours he loved life.
then someone asked how bob got that job? did he go through the proper protocol? he got thrown under the bus. after years of loving his work he got put back in the classroom and he was so sad. because he was low man on the totem pole in teacher land ( i guess seniority didnt enter in) he got the class of underachievers from the toughest neighborhoods in milwaukee (milwaulkee has some really tough neighborhoods) he was not a politically correct guy and the stuff that would come out of his mouth was alarming. he believed that the community he was asked to teach was unreachable. they didnt get breakfast so their brains didnt work.
his last remaining joy was walking in the parks around milwaukee that he had come to know taking the kids on field trips. that and going to high school plays. he loved going and went to 200 plays a year in school auditoriums all over the milwaukee area.
he had property all over northern wisconsin, 5 acres here 5 acres there. he had a favorite place around ladysmith where he had a spot on the flambeau river with white pines and a natural beauty hard to beat. he would mow and tweak and groom the property. there was a small cabin next door with an owner who inherited it and didnt ever come and on the other side was a good ol boy who wold come up from new orleans every summer to be bobs buddy. they would sit and discuss the world and the woods and the good old days and every summer was better than the one before.
bob lived out of a pop up tent trailer that he would haul up in may and haul home in october every year. a stove, a bed and walls, who could ask for anything more. his last year up there he decided to leave it up in october and simply come back in april and set up camp. when he came he found his neighbor in the cabin who had some mental illness issues has sold the tent trailer. he simply threw p his hands and walked away. too bad. a bad way to end a chapter but the way it went.
when i divorced his daughter he was called on to winterize her house every year (putting on the plastic over the porch screens and raking the leaves and and to open it up again in the spring. he would stop over to borrow a wheelbarrow, a shovel a hammer and chat for a while. i will always remember his response to a statement it way ‘yeah , yeah , yeah, ” kind of like he was going down stairs. descending tones of yeahs in a row. he used his mantra to mull over his response and let you know he was listening and was aware it was his turn to speak in the conversation.
he comes to mind at this time of year as the leaves turn brown and fall off. and all thats left is the green egg shaped leaves of the hated intruder the buckthorn that takes over and chokes everything out. it is very sad to realize that the natural plants are being killed and choked out by the early coming out and the late departure of the buckthorn. i wuuld like to see a way to stop the takeover of the buckthorn and i think of bob everytime it comes up.
linda has the tree wrench for pulling the buckthorn up but it is hard work. i would like to find a way to clear an acre or a chunk of the woods in a weekend with a crew of volunteers to see what the difference between maintained and non maintained natural woodlands would be. ill bet it would make an impact. maybe in my sparetime
is there a trigger that reminds you of a time or place every time you see /hear/smell/taste it?