The Legacy of Trees

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a touching story about trees and what they represent for the future. As someone who loves trees and laments when any die or are cut down, I really had to smile when I read this short, but meaningful offering from Slim. Sometimes you don’t have to say a lot to say a lot, if you get my drift. 

One of the majestic pines that slowly died from the drought in 2011 in TX. I cried when she finally fell, thankfully away from my fence.

When old Joe Gilliam began digging that hole in his front yard, out there close to the street, neighbors watched and wondered. When he got his grandson to help him carry the shade tree sapling from his pickup to the hole, people nodded.

Mystery solved.

Old Joe’s planting a tree.

After removing the root mass from the five-gallon pot, the grandson disappeared and Old Joe was left to care for the baby tree. He carefully spread the tiny feeder roots out and tucked them in with soil. Then he packed more dirt around the tree’s base and soaked it well with the hose.

No one else saw anything odd in Joe planting that tree, either, but Joe’s been retired now going on 20 years. He’s old and getting more frail each year. By the time that sapling gets large enough to give homes to squirrels and birds and shade to neighbors and a resting place for dogs, Joe will have been long gone.

But planting a tree is an affirmation of faith in the future.

It is a gift to those yet unborn.

It is a legacy of goodness, an old man’s prayer.

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Two of Slim’s books, Ol’ Jimmy Dollar and The Cowboy’s Bucket List, are now deeply discounted for his readers and listeners. Check out the offer at

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Check out all of Slim’s award-winning books at, and in better bookstores and bunkhouses throughout the free world.

All of the posts here are from his syndicated column, Home Country that is read in hundreds of newspapers across the country. I am always happy to have him share his wit and wisdom here.

Slim Randles is a veteran newspaperman, hunting guide, cowboy and dog musher. He was a feature writer and columnist for The Anchorage Daily News for 10 years and guided hunters in the Alaska Range and the Talkeetna Mountains. A resident of New Mexico now for more than 30 years, Randles is the prize-winning author of a dozen books, and is host of two podcasts and a television program. 

6 thoughts on “The Legacy of Trees”

  1. This sure brought back memories of when we planted trees. I always tried to remember, they’re planted for the next generation. Slim’s story brought tears to my eyes.

    1. I remember the big old elm tree in my mother’s back yard. You could see it from your house, Jan, when you lived in Michigan. I hated that the man who bought the house made us cut down that tree. Nothing wrong with it, he just didn’t want it in his yard. UGH!!

  2. Yes, I remember that tree. It was wonderful to have a tree so big and offering shade in the heat of summer. Hard to imagine someone wouldn’t appreciate that Elm that I wished was in my yard!

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