In a quiet neighborhood in a small college town there lived an old lady named Mrs. Breckenridge. She was a small featured lady who was a perfectionist in almost every perceivable way. She lived with her husband and her beloved dogs. Next door lived her son and his three children. Being a loving grandmother Mrs. Breckenridge kept the tots until they were enrolled into the public school system. Then after school she helped them with homework.
The oldest grandchild was a little blonde-haired blue eyed girl who captured her grandmother’s heart the day she was born. It was this little girl who brought home from school four long leaf pine seedlings to plant. The holes were dug and the seedlings planted. They were daily given special attention to be sure they lived through the hot summer months.
Two of the trees lived and grew into huge beautiful pine trees with long graceful needles. Year after year the trees were groomed and the dried needles left to keep in the moisture. Fifteen years later the trees were nearly as tall as the massive oak trees that grew nearby and they swayed in the breeze displaying their beauty.
Until one day a little boy named Willie happened to be mowing the lawn. Willie had always tried to escape any and all work. So it was on this day. He was riding the big riding mower but found it difficult to circle the long leaf pine trees without the limbs brushing across his back. Without further thought he cut off the mower and proceeded to cut off all the low hanging branches.
It was a major disaster for he not only cut the limbs off in the hottest time of the year but really did a hack job to boot. When Mrs. Breckenridge saw a massive pile of limbs in her front yard near the road she began asking questions. Who could have cut the limbs off her beautiful long leaf pine trees? What in the world would be reason enough to make such a drastic decision?
Upon investigation she found Willie had done the deed. Mrs. Breckenridge called Willie and asked him why he had taken it upon himself to cut the limbs off her prized trees. Of course Willie stated that the riding mower just would not fit under the limbs. Angry Mrs. Breckenridge told Willie “That is what push mowers are made for Willie! Now you need to come out here and remove all these limbs for the city will not pick up such long branches.” When mowing grass one may need a riding mower, a push mower or a weed eater to complete the job. Cutting off branches is an act that cannot be remedied quickly.
Willie did clean up the mess but the damage was already done. He had a very bad attitude because he had just turned eighteen years old and thought he was now a man. No one should question his actions.
Willie never apologized for the mistake but chose to ignore Mrs. Breckenridge. The correct thing to do would have been to apologize and try to make amends. However pride often gets in the way of good judgment.
Willie never said he was sorry and continued to carry the guilt along with him. The chop job on the trees remained as a reminder to all of how poor judgment can get one into trouble. It is always best to ask before you take it upon yourself to alter another person’s property. The mark of a great man begins with saying I’m sorry when need be!
Written by Sybil Shearin
All Rights Reserved
Copyrighted June 2011
Question: Why did Willie cut off the pine tree limbs?