Old Joe Plants a Tree for the Future


  When old Joe Gilliam began digging that hole in his front yard, out there close to the street, neighbors watched and wondered.  When he got his grandson to help him carry the shade tree sapling from his pickup to the hole, people nodded.

  Mystery solved. Old Joe’s planting a tree.

  After removing the root mass from the five-gallon pot, the grandson disappeared and Old Joe was left to care for the baby tree. He carefully spread the tiny feeder roots out and tucked them in with soil. Then he packed more dirt around the tree’s base and soaked it well with the hose.

  No one else saw anything odd in Joe planting that tree, either, but Joe’s been retired now going on 20 years. He’s old and getting more frail each year. By the time that sapling gets large enough to give homes to squirrels and birds and shade to neighbors and a resting place for dogs, Joe will have been long gone.

  Planting a tree is an affirmation of faith in the future. It is a gift to those yet unborn. It is a legacy of goodness, an old man’s prayer.

Make your own liquid fertilizer for free by going to youtube.com and then  getting your hands dirty. You’re welcome.


Newspaper columnist Slim Randles, who writes the weekly Home Country column, took home two New Mexico Book Awards in 2011. His advice book for young people, “A Cowboy’s Guide to Growing Up Right,” took first place in the self-help category, and “Sweetgrass Mornings” won in the biography/memoirs category. Randles lives and works in Albuquerque. Home Country reaches 3 million hometown newspaper readers each week

Slim Randles learned mule packing from Gene Burkhart and Slim Nivens. He learned mustanging and wild burro catching from Hap Pierce. He learned horse shoeing from Rocky Earick. He learned horse training from Dick Johnson and Joe Cabral. He learned humility from the mules of the eastern High Sierra. Randles lives in Albuquerque.

Randles has written newspaper stories, magazine articles and book, both fiction and nonfiction. His column appeared in New Mexico Magazine for many years and was a popular columnist for the Anchorage Daily News and the Albuquerque Journal, and now writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country,” which appears in several hundred newspapers across the country.


  Huntington Beach News

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