Home Country

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.

Brought to you by "Sun Dog Days," available at


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