What Really Killed The Beloved First Tree In The Texas Panhandle?
Little did I know that when I wrote the story of the "first tree in the Texas panhandle", that there would be serious debate as to what really killed off the original First Tree. All are possible, but which one is the culprit?
So what really happened to the first tree in the Texas panhandle?
The Old Lady With Good Intentions And Weed Killer
One of my favorite accounts of the demise of the tree involves a woman with some weed killer.
According to local lore, there was a woman who went out to tend to the site of the first tree. Unfortunately, she took along some weed killer.
I don't think I need to tell you what happens next.
Supposedly, they booted her out of the historical society. For some reason I imagine a group of people sitting around a table covered in doilies, with scones and tea, casting a vote to exile the former member.
This is not, however, the only story that exists regarding the tree's demise...
An Ironic End To The First Tree From The Fence Meant To Protect It
Some maintain, and vehemently defend the notion, that the tree was killed by the fence that was built to protect it. In an ironic twist of fate, that which should have prolonged the tree's life is what ultimately ended it.
Perhaps the fence damaged a part of its root system. Maybe the paint on the fence was some kind super-lead-paint and it poisoned the tree.
Some say you shouldn't try to fence in a tree living free. It will die. Sounds like something you would hear in a couple's therapy session.
The Tree Was A Runt Anyways And Was Lucky To Have Made It That Long
Some argue that the tree itself is to blame. It's no secret that Cree's Bois D'Arc tree was not among the hardiest of trees that have ever existed. In fact, you could possibly be forgiven for calling it a runt.
Some believe that the tree was doomed from the start, and that the long life it had was a miracle in and of itself. The Texas panhandle isn't known for it's calm, forgiving climate.
Summers are brutal. Winters are brutal. We don't exactly live in a five-star greenhouse.
The Crop Dusting Incident Of Nineteen Something-Or-Other
While the exact date of The Great Crop Dusting Incident is not precisely known, it is a widely held belief that a crop duster could in fact be responsible for the death of the tree.
The odd part of this is that the pesticides used in aerial application (as it is called these days) are used on crops and...trees. It should have kept the tree healthy and safe.
Perhaps the pilot was a bit of a daredevil and didn't pull up enough in time, and he skimmed the top of the tree causing irreparable harm.
Then again it could have been...
A Cover Up By The Highway Department
Some believe it's a grand conspiracy by the highway department. There's probably files about it buried somewhere deep in a basement.
Legend has it the highway department was spraying in the area, and that's what finally did the tree in.
This would then make our friend in the historical society a fall-guy in a grand conspiracy to cover up the government led assassination of the Texas panhandle's first tree.
Then again, there are still those who say that....
A Negligent Farmer Is Really The One To Blame
Supposedly a farmer was spraying his field and that's what killed the tree. We're all aware of the wind in the Texas panhandle. It never stops.
According to lore the wind picked up that fateful day and spread whatever that farmer was spraying all over the first tree, leading to its demise.
It makes one wonder, just what was that farmer spraying his field with?
It's Still One Of The Texas Panhandle's Greatest Mysteries
The only thing we know for sure is that at some point the tree died and a new one was planted to commemorate the old one and act as a pseudo surrogate first tree. How that came to be, is seemingly lost to local legends and folklore.
What really happened to the first tree? We may never know.