Local Oak gets
 lingering revenge

from Jean Maure

This is what happens everytime. You snap a photo, it sits around for a while, you show it to friends, then chuck it in the drawer.

Nine years later, there it is. Look what I found! History!

This is what happened to Jean Maure, who is one of the charter members of the new Melrose SilverStringer's photo group. In 1993 she was walking around her new town, looking us over, seeing what's what. On this summer day she headed for the library, camera strung over her shoulder in case she should find something really exceptional during her walk.

It's a case of an irritated oak tree getting really mad at that damned sign the Highway Department guy nailed into its trunk.

Talk about patience. How long ago did that PWD fella nail that sign up? Probably the old high school was still the high school -- that is, before the new one was built out back. Mid sixties? We had half as many traffic lights then.

But the tree was patient. It survived, without help from the city or its residents. It survived a million passing cars, a billion bugs in its leafy arms, 22,000 days of simmering heat and New England cold. Snow, ice, and life-giving rain.

And patiently it encircled the sign. The sign probably said two-hour parking at one time, but the tree slowly obliterated the two. Eventually the sign read an entirely different message: Our Arkin. There's nothing to show for it today. It's been digested.

Jean was sharp to take that picture in 1993. Now look what we have to talk about.

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