Some Things are More Pressing Than Shameless Self-Promotion or Plant a Tree for the Auburn Trees

I fully intended to post about my media one-two punch when I Got To Be on the radio and in the online edition of the local paper on the same day.  I know; I will give you a moment.

But, last evening, I read what is quite possibly the worst story I have ever read.  Some Very Bad Man decided that it would be a good idea to poison two huge, 130-year-old trees that the folks at Auburn University celebrate under whenever they beat Alabama. Plant a tree in Honor of the Toomer's OaksThe kids and other fans would get together after a victory and roll the trees, which means "hooting, hollering, and tossing toilet paper up in their branches to watch it trail gloriously back to earth, leaving pristine white streamers to adorn the trees."

Apparently, an Alabama fan enraged over a loss, decided to retaliate.  Not by stealing the Auburn mascot or by taking out a full-page ad in the local paper stating Auburn Sux. No, this guy decided to poison the trees.  Apparently, the dose of herbicide he gave these beautiful trees was over 50 times the strength of a lethal dosage.  And now, the trees will die a slow, horrible death, and there's just nothing anyone can do about it.

The students gathered on February 16, after they learned that the trees were dying, for an impromptu tree rolling.  I would like to think that the trees appreciated the gesture.  I'd also hope that the folks at Auburn would use the wood from the trees to build a Memorial Structure--maybe a gazebo or something.  As to the Very Bad Man, I prefer not to think about him.  He is beneath my contempt.

What I propose is that anyone who reads this and is moved by it go out, buy a small tree, and plant it as a living memorial to the Auburn trees.  You can let me know if you participate, but you don't have to.

Update:  My friend Thomas (find him @travelingscreen on twitter) and his wife, Roberta, are donating to American Forests in the name of the Toomer's Oaks.  What a wonderful idea.  You could also donate to the Arbor Day Foundation or any other organization that supports the environment in general or trees in particular.

And that's all.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.  I'm going tree shopping.


  1. says

    As an Auburn fan and alumni, thank you so much for this post. The Toomer’s Oak trees are a huge part of the Auburn Family. They are the symbol of our spirit. Auburn fans gather at Toomer’s Corner and roll the trees after big wins in all sports – especially football. I have great childhood memories rolling the trees with my family and friends.

    It is extremely sad that one man would try and take that tradition away from us. Harvey Updyke may have poisoned our trees, but he can’t poison our spirit! This will only make us stronger. War Eagle!!

    • says

      I’m not a sports fan at all; didn’t go to school at Auburn; think sports fanaticism is just silly, but I stand w/Auburn students/fans/alums today and say “War Eagle” with you all.

  2. says

    Thank you! I love trees and as a “born there” Auburn fan, what that bad man did, just rips my heart out. Yet, this post is so beautiful, it touches my heart.

    As for the challenge last night, I think I will leave the coconut/ potato /rice challenge to chefs. I’ll be happy to watch and write 🙂


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