Shade Trees


Country at HeartSince summer is waning and since most of us live in air conditioned houses and ride in air conditioned cars and work in air conditioned buildings, shade trees probably don't have much significance to us, but for those of you, like me, who grew up in rural America, shade trees were a welcome site on a hot, summer day. Even, now, in sunny, Southern California, when I'm out walking and need a rest, I'll stop under any tree on my path.

And on that note, that takes me back to the country of my childhood. When I was growing up, country people walked a lot ... and I do mean, a lot. Though many families had cars, they still walked to neighbor's houses or to the field to work or just romping around in the woods, or just walking for fun and recreation.

In the summertime, which is ideal for walking, we made good use of those hot days to get out of the house. And this is where shade trees come in. Many times, Mother would send us to a neighbor's house for whatever. And I must explain that a country neighbor could live about five miles away and still be a neighbor.

When we arrived at neighbor's house, they would usually invite us to sit under the shade tree or on the porch. At our house, we had a hickory nut tree, an oak tree and a black walnut tree, so whenever we got tired of sitting in the house, we'd camp out under one of our big, tall, gigantic, green, natural canopies.

When we had to walk to Mrs. Whoever's house, usually, we'd go through the woods. If we walked along the main, dusty, unpaved road, there weren't a lot of trees. This may be true because tees could have been axed for the road to come through. But at any rate, every once in a while, we'd come to a tall, shade tree. If we were good and tired, that was our opportunity to hang out under the sprawling arms of the largest tree we could find. Trees along the road aren't that plentiful but they do exist.

Whenever we picked cotton, it was usually on a cloudless, too warm summer or autumn day and trees in cotton fields are another story. Those fields are almost always bare, because cotton has to have room to grow, and trees hinder their growth. So there's nothing much but cotton and their tall, green stalks in cotton fields.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

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