Letters

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TREES AS TROPHIES

Deborah Gangloff: The corridors of American schools are lined with pale pine stilted trophy cases gathering dust. I know because with my 30 years of moving within the schools' systems I came [upon] those same dreary stilted cases with their same crass tarnishing trophies.

My point, of course. . . .Why could not these schools and their children and their principals have substituted living vibrant trees as trophies? Trees that grew with their recipients? I've been preaching it for 30 years but "don't get much respect."

Gene Horn

Winter Haven, Florida

BOONE DOGGLED

editor: I really enjoyed the several apple/Johnny Appleseed articles in your Winter 2003 edition. Keep up the good work! Each year when I lecture on the Delta Queen steamboat the passengers enjoy the following Daniel Boone/apple story and I thought your readers might too:

Although Daniel Boone (1734-1820) loved Kentucky, he left for Missouri Territory in the late 1700s partly because much of the land he had staked out for his retirement had been swindled away and mostly to get away from too many people to see the relatively unpopulated wilderness. He crossed the Ohio River on foot at the Falls of the Ohio at Louisville and traveled through central Indiana on his way to Missouri.

Not only had Boone been dreaming of moving west but had also wanted to raise an apple orchard. He saw his chance to do so in central Indiana, cleared some land and planted 500 small apple trees. He tended his orchard best he could but for some reason wo don't understand, not one of his trees produced a single apple. Around 1807 he simply gave up and sold his orchard to the local Indians for a grub stake sufficient to get him to the Missouri Territory, which for all those years had still been luring him on.

In Missouri he built a small cabin and enjoyed life but continued hearing about the wondrous journey of Lewis and Clark (1804-1806). He made up his mind to make the same journey. At age 80, alone and on foot, Daniel Boone took off from St Joseph, Missouri, to see the Yellowstone. For three years he traced the route of Lewis and Clark and did see the Yellowstone before returning to his cabin in Missouri, none the worse for wear. Three years after his return, at age 86, Boone died peacefully at home.

The whole time Boone was in Missouri and traveling out West, the Indians back in Indiana continued to tend the 500 apple trees Boone had sold to them. That orchard never bore fruit for them either! They finally gave up on it and let it revert to natural conditions. Yet still to this day, over 180 years later, that area of central Indiana is still known as the "Indian Appleless 500!"

P.S. All is true except the orchard thing. Boone did leave Kentucky in disgust and with anticipation but went straight to Missouri; at age 80 he did travel out West for three years.

Steve Sandfort, RF, CA

Cincinnati, Ohio 45212

ARMED WITH SHOVELS

American Forests: Tree planting to honor people is a noble idea. I have been working for environmental protection for two decades and sincerely appreciate a project that helps restore our planet's ecology. …