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Bobby & Grandpa, The Story Of Two Memorable Characters!


IMG_3881Many years ago, we had a lovable character working for us, Bobby. He was a grizzled old country boy from round about Uvalde, Texas. He loved trees, he loved people, he loved selling his trees to people he loved, and he loved beer! He knew all the trees in his area of the sales yard, and even named a few. One of his trees he named “Grandpa” because it was old, a little twisted and gnarled (kind of like Bobby), and had been in the nursery quite a while (also like Bobby).

Bobby loved to talk, and would explore with his clients exactly what kind of tree would suit them best. Usually, of course, a smaller, younger and more vigorous tree with a classic shape would serve their need. But one day a client came in and needed a specimen tree with character to replace one that had been lost to an errant teenage driver. Bobby introduced the client to “Grandpa”, thinking they would be a good match, and the client was thrilled to find a tree that was still a transplantable size but  with the character that only comes with age and hardship.

Bobby set up the sale, delivery, and planting, but before “Grandpa” went out, I studied the tree and removed one outlier branch, much improving the appearance (in my opinion). Well, when the tree arrived at its new home, the homeowner called, very upset, and said, “You switched trees on me and sent me a different tree, that’s not the one I bought!” I couldn’t convince him that it was the same tree, but we certainly did not have another tree approaching it for size and character so he relented and allowed us to plant it.

Bobby eventually let drink get the better of him. He missed several days without coming in, and had various excuses as to why. When we went to see what was up with him, he claimed that he had pancreatic cancer and only had days to live. This was baloney of course, and since he wasn’t ready for his “toot” to end and come back to work, we had to let him go.

Remember, this was many years back.  Lucky for me, “Grandpa” was planted at a house I frequently drive by on my way home from work, and like a Grandpa should, he reminds me of several important things. #1, People don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of your love. We loved Bobby.  #2, Things change. We still love Bobby, but we had to say goodbye. #3, Sometimes I should leave well enough alone. The client liked his tree the way it was and I shouldn’t have meddled.  #4, Mistakes have a way of working themselves out over time, we all make them, and shouldn’t sweat them too much. Just remember the lesson, and leave behind the embarrassment. And that tree looks damn good today!


Reader Interactions


  1. Mari Whitworth says

    Loved this! And you’re so very right – those are great and important things to learn and live by!

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