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By Billy Joe Fudge
I heard a tree standing by Burkesville Road
At the corner of Bomar Heights.
I've been hearing him softly speaking
Most each day and many many nights.
Sometimes he speaks to my heart
And sometimes he speaks to my mind.
He often is bold and forceful
But he is always friendly and kind.
Given the hard times and abuse
Which have been thrown his way,
It's really hard to believe that
He still survives until today.
He talked to me recently about
When he was born and his life.
He said, "B J, if I can call you that,
I was born amongst trouble and strife,
For it was the Depression you see.
There was a weakly ol' fence
That cornered near my feet
And since it was the only defense
Against the road and the street;
They wrapped that wire around me
Which nearly choked me for a while,
But I'm a really tough ol' tree."
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I guess since he is nearly a hundred
And appeared to be short of breath
He went silent for a while and
The silence was much like death.
But then in a sudden breeze
He shook his damaged mane.
As my heart started back to beating,
I wondered about his name.
Was it Mr. Hackberry I mused
Or something else entirely?
Was it a name which he liked or
A name given him unfairly?
Then, as if he read my mind
He began to speak again.
"I've always been called 'Pike' and
Yes I like it," he said with a grin.
The old folks standing nearby
Called me that from my youth,
'Cause I stood so near to the
Old Southern Turnpike route.
"I've seen it all" he said,
"Like the hospital on the hill.
Folks passed with newborns and
That was quite a thrill.
But then many would pass
With tears streaming down
And I knew their loved ones,
Just made their last trip to town."

I could just hear a sniffle as
He stopped to watch a car
Speeding recklessly by and then
He began, "I can't see far
But I've seen it all,
From 'Taylor's Slaughter House'
To 'Chuck and Rick's' and
Every single field mouse.
At any rate B J,
My Old Friends have gone on;
The fence has been torn down
And I stand here all alone.
Yes, I've done quite well,
Standing here on shallow ground
In blazing heat and freezing cold
With asphalt all around.
I know my time draws near
To depart this earthly realm.
I'll soon feel my last breeze
And lay upon the ground;
I'll hear my last car horn
And see no more trucks pass;
I'll feel the earth shake no more
And smell no more gas.
I just ask that you remember
This Ol' Hackberry named 'Pike',
That stood by Burkesville Road
When you turn on Bomar Heights."

This story was posted on 2018-12-09 12:25:35
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Kentucky Color: Pike, the Hackberry Tree

2018-12-09 - Columbia, KY - Photo by Billy Joe Fudge.
Billy Joe has penned an epic poem in honor of one of the stately citizens of Adair County.

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