Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The ol' pet tree

“Feeling Fall”

    ROOFTOP – All right, now it feels like fall. You know when it feels like fall? Now. I think I just said that.

    I can understand why you had trouble hearing me, ‘cause it’s so breezy. Breezy and cool. And, clear. In fact, to see a bluer sky you’d have to travel to Oel in the galaxy Trifore. They’ve got an unnaturally blue sky there. Scary blue. Take my word.

    Another fall sign is the one tree we have with some red leaves. It’s the Chinese Tallow at the edge of the porch. The one I usually climb to get up here. Unlike the oaks out there, the tallow leaves do turn a lovely red.

Kay was out a few minutes ago with the camera. Mumbled something about the light being all wrong and went back inside. I guess the light would be better were the tree on the north side of the house. I’m not moving it though.

I don’t know if you knew, but my first pet was a tallow tree. The one on Camille Street. We weren’t allowed animal pets, ‘cause you had to feed ‘em and they made a mess in the yard. That was back when kids played outdoors and rolled around in the grass and stuff. Dogs and cats were not welcome at the Hayter house.

So, one day I asked Mom if I could have the tree in the backyard. She said, “I don’t know. Which one do you want?” I took her to the kitchen window and showed her the forked Chinese Tallow.

"Well do you think you can take care of it?” Can you believe that Mom never took a parenting course? She honed her skills on the first four Hayter kids. By the time she got to Al, she forgot all she learned. Anyway, she gave me the tree, and I befriended the thing. Even talked to it. “How was your day? You need more water? Oh, I got my report card and Ol’ Ms. Smith gave me a ‘C’ in conduct. Dad’s gonna kill me. I’m scared to go inside. What should I do?”

When Dennis found out that Mom gave me a pet tree, he laughed big time. And, when he heard me talking to the thing, he told the world about his idiot brother. He’d swing around on the thing just to tick me off. “Is this its elbow right here? Do you think it hurts when I do—this!”

I suppose I should’ve thanked my big brother for trying to humiliate the weirdness out of me. Unfortunately, I wore humiliation well. Always seemed to fit. I was a mess. I’m so much better now.— Beg pardon?

And, who wouldn’t feel better on such a lovely day?  After all, it’s fall! I’ve been so anxious about its arrival that Thanksgiving snuck up on me. Sneaked? What’s bizarro is the fact that none of the Hayters have stepped up to the plate to host the family get-together. They all have families and have apparently made other arrangements. It can sure happen.

So, Kay and I are staying home and preparing something we wouldn’t ordinarily prepare. The ol’ surf and turf. Lobster and steak. The two times we bought lobster tails they were frozen and we tried to steam ‘em. They were rubber tails. Kay read where you’re either supposed to grill or sauté a frozen lobster tails. I’m grilling.

Thanksgiving morning, we’re going to eat breakfast, read the paper, watch about ten minutes of the parade and then play some one-on-one football. With only one person per team you pretty much have to play tackle. Touch would just be stupid. “Okay, hike.” Touch. “That’s not fair.  

No we’ll have to play tackle football. As soon as one of us gets hurt, I’ll do the fireman’s carry and get her inside and then fire up the grill. It’ll be different, but good. You know what it will be? Different, but good. Just seeing if you were listening.

Hey, Happy Thanksgiving from the Hayters. And, befriend a tree.


To view Brad and Mark’s review of Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet click below.

Mark can be reached at mark@rooftopwriter.com


  1. Don't feel bad, Mark, a pet tree sounds like a good idea. I MIGHT actually be able to get along with a tree. They aren't too demanding, they don't ask for money, or babysitting and they never judge my failings. Yes, I think a tree would make a fine pet.

  2. I even gave the tree a name, but I can't remember it. Greeny? -- You're right, Cora, a most practical pet... for the more desperate among us. I was that. Thanks, lady. m