When You're So Old

by Robert H. Mealey 1910-2007
Mr. Ponderosa, Friend and Mentor

My friends quite often ask of me,
Why does an old man plant a tree?
It grows so slow it will not pay,
A profit for him anyway.
Then why in storm and winter cold,
Do you plant a tree when you're so old?

The answer seems hard to define,
When muscles ache and they are mine!
But I just cannot stand to see,
A place where there should be a tree.
So that in part as years unfold,
Is why I plant when I'm so old.

I know that animals, bugs and things,
Love trees and so do such as go on wings.
So creatures wild that benefit,
Is one more reason I can't quit,
From planting trees while I can hold,
My planting hoe though I'm so old.

They say that those retired from labor,
Should fish and play and talk to neighbor.
They say also that folks in leisure,
Should do the things that give them pleasure.
And so the thought on which I'm sold,
I'll plant a tree though I'm so old.

As times goes on my trees will grow,
So tall and clean and row on row.
The furry folk will have a home.
The birds can nest and kids can roam.
And all of this as I have told,
I planted trees though I'm so old.

And then there is my family,
Young folks who will follow me.
I'd like to leave them with some land,
Stocked with trees and looking grand.
These gifts I value more than gold,
So I'll plant a tree though I'm so old.

And taxes too for schools and roads,
With jobs and lumber for abodes.
I won't see these things, I won't be here,
But in my mind itís very clear.
The words of some who could be polled,
Might thank a man who is so old.

Man should be proud of what's his own,
And how he's managed what he's grown.
But management must be begun,
By planting seedlings one by one.
And so my pride I shall uphold,
I'll plant some trees though I'm so old.

So when my friends ask of me,
What does an old man plant a tree?
Perhaps the lines above explain,
How aching back and limbs in pain,
May by commitment be controlled,
To plant a tree though I'm so old.



Last Updated 02/24/08