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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

R.I.P. English Elm 1941-2011

The stately English elm, planted in our quadrangle by Fr. Tom Walsh seventy years ago, finally gave up the ghost during the heat spell last week.

On more than one occasion in recent years the tree was given up for dead, only to be carefully nursed back to the land of the living, if not to health, by our grounds crew and arborologist-in-residence Fr. Richard Callahan. For several years the county even administered I.V.s to both trees to bolster their immune systems--no joke.

Cause of death is still unknown, but arboricide has been ruled out. The two elms--the now defunct English elm and its more symmetrical cousin, the American elm--have survived outbreaks of Dutch elm disease, sap-sucking aphids and plagues of jubilee tents over the years.

Our Centennial celebration last week proved to be the final nail in the proverbial coffin, as it were, although it's more likely the tree will provide the actual wood.

Final arrangements have not been announced. My guess is the poor thing will be left standing until the prospect of a falling limb hitting someone with the idea of a lawsuit inspires an impromptu lumberectomy.

There are no relatives, but a few saplings look suspiciously familiar.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Society for the Abolition of Toothpicks.

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