Two trees that were very important to boys

Published 9:40 pm Monday, January 1, 2018

As a young boy growing up there were two trees that were important to have, a china ball tree and a pecan tree. They were both valuable in different ways. The china ball tree in Gaye Harris’ yard on Tenth Street produced the best china balls in our neighborhood. Bubba and I would use these china balls as ammunition for our sling shots. The tree was not too high and one of us could climb the tree and shake the branches while the other was picking them up in paper bags. We spent hours picking these china balls up and taking them to the various forts before the others. These were a perfect fit for the sling shots we had made from branches of smaller trees. We had to get them before others in the neighborhood got them to aim at us! Gaye had the best tree and her parents never complained about us cleaning up their yard.

Pecan trees had a financial value! There were three big pecan trees in the vacant lot in between the Singletons and Earl Keel, but owned by Uncle Bonnie (Singleton). These trees always had plenty of pecans, but they had to be picked up without Uncle Bonnie catching us. It was more fun doing it when we were not supposed to, as opposed to having the OK. We would sneak over and fill our bags with pecans, sometimes throwing a stick up into the tree to knock the pecans down. If we were lucky, the morning after a storm was the best time, because they would already have been blown down. After getting bagged, we took them over to our fort behind Earl Keel’s garage.

The Twins (Betty and Jane) were always involved in the bagging, and they also knew of the danger if Uncle Bonnie caught us. Rose Ann and Thad Hodges were lookouts for us and would run to tell us if they saw Uncle Bonnie’s car coming. Sometimes if the harvest was good, we would split the money with the others.

Once gathered, we would put them into a stronger bag in the fort and double peddle down to W.B. Gerard and Sons to be sold to Walter. We double peddled everywhere because we only had one bike and with two peddling we got there faster. Once we got our money, it was over to Ammons Bakery and then Bill’s Hot Dog stand to buy as many hot dogs and pastries as our money would allow. Then it was back home to lay in our fort and take a nap with a full stomach and smiles on our faces.

Personally, to this day, I really think Uncle Bonnie knew, but he never let us know it!

— Harold, Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.