…”Again, thank you Mr. Smith!…

I had an Industrial Arts/Shop Class teacher, a long time ago, in elementary school, I’ll refer to him as Mr. Smith, that caused me to look at trees differently. No!, it wasn’t the business end of his “Shop Class Custom made Paddle” that I was VERY familiar with from other Teachers & Principals. He noticed I wasn’t interested in the simple project of buildin’ a Napkin Holder. Mr. Smith came over & handed me a plain, simple, round disk of wood. It was a cross cut section of a tree. OK, I had seen similar pieces of wood like it before. But, from that moment on, he changed the way I have looked at trees since. All of a sudden Mr. Smith was a History Teacher! He taught me more about History in that 1 hour class, that day, than I ever learned from a History Teacher in a Required History Class. He connected with me & I didn’t even know it! Mr. Smith had my attention & he knew it. He asked me “how old was that piece of wood, that he had handed me, when it was cut”?, then he simply walked away. There I was, about 12 years old, tryin’ to figure out what he had just asked me. A few minutes later he came back to where I was standin’, by a work bench, & simply said “well?”. I replied “well what?”. He asked me again “how old was that piece of wood when it was cut”? Again he just walked off. I then began to look at that disk of wood. I could tell it was old by the way it had darken with age & handlin’ over the years, I guessed. But I still had no clue to its age. Well like before, Mr. Smith comes back to me & asked if I had made any progress? He sat down and waited for my response. I just sat there, kind of intimidated, & said “I don’t know”. I asked him “how long have you had it”? He said “about 25 years”. I said “then it’s 25 years old”! “No, that’s when I cut the tree down & saved this piece” he said. I still had it in my hands. He pointed to it & asked “do you noticed anything else about it”? I told him “It looks like it’s Oak”. He said “yes it is, anythin’ else”? Mr. Smith could tell by the look on my face I was drawin’ a blank. He then pointed to the to the area just inside the Bark Ring & said “see this ring”? He ran his finger around it and said “start here! & count these rings all the way to the center, I’ll be back”. With that he was up & off to check on other students projects. Back he came, in just a short time, “How many rings are there”?, he asked. I said 40″!  I really don’t remember now, heck, that was 53 years ago. He said “actually there are 42”. Then he asked me “How old is it”?…(to be continued)…Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>


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