Toomer’s Corner Makes the South the South



Toomer’s Corner Makes the South the South



Magical Madge admiring a tree near Friars Point and the Mississippi River levee.

Magical Madge admiring a tree near Friars Point and the Mississippi River levee. Photo by DB

Today’s headline news in the Clarion Ledger from the Associated Press: “Auburn: Oak trees poisoned at Toomer’s Corner.” The aged oak trees are on the site where Auburn fans have long celebrated big wins. Ain’t that ‘bout a bitch? It’s sad for the trees, sad for the National Championship Auburn Tigers, sad for Alabama Crimson Tide fans, sad for SEC fans, and sad for the state of humanity and it reflects the smallness of our individual and collective hearts. Hell, it’s sad for America. Wait, does that trump “the state of humanity?” Just askin’?

Poor William, eight hours before going to press for the Delta Bohemian (it’s after one in the morning), is surfing looking for extemporaneous inspiration on the Internet instead of writing the articles that he has promised the Magical One he would do, ASAP. Madge, who has been working both her jobs today is tired, it’s midnight, and we have mere hours to go before it’s time to publish. Then it happens; a shadowy muse drops the mishap at Toomer’s Corner into Poor William’s proverbial lap.

The report said that Auburn discovered the poisoning on Jan. 28, the day after a man called a Birmingham radio show announcing that he had put herbicides on the revered trees at Toomer’s Corner. A lethal dose of a tree-killing herbicide was used on the woody perennials.

The caller said on The Paul Finebaum Radio Show that he had gone to Auburn on the weekend after the Iron Bowl (annual pigskin battle between the Auburn Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide) and poisoned Toomer’s trees. Also, he stated that he had been at the Iron Bowl and lived only 30 miles away from Auburn University.

The caller referred to himself as “Al from Dadeville,” and said he had used Spike 80DF, also known as Tebuthiuron, on the trees and they would “definitely die.” Al signed off with, “Roll Damn Tide.”

He might have been smart enough to fudge his hometown by five-to-ten miles. Hell, he’s probably smart enough to figure our who Poor William is (if he finds out I hope he’ll tell me) and drive over here and whip my “Ole Miss loving” ass!

The Dirty South is represented here for sure. Not only are arborists, granola chewers, folks with a conscience, Euell Gibbons lovers–I am one–and hot logger babes offended as hell here, but it makes Southerners look bad. However, make no mistake, other NCAA Conferences know the SEC DON’T PLAY! There is a reason we are about Dinky Dau Number one in ‘bout every damn sport and for sure in the Hot Babe category. “Word” to the hipsters and “palabra” to the Latinos.

Now, understand, Poor William hereby doth attests to how messed up the poisoning of trees is. If he heard a Bulldog or LSU Tiger had poisoned trees at University of Mississippi’s (Ole Miss) Grove, he would likely vote for the Old English form of punishment: drawing, hanging, beheading, and quartering, without prejudice. Might even take their hunting license from them.

There will likely be several veins of opinion on this front-page story. Some folks will be ardently miffed: Auburn die-hards and those who think trees are people too, folks who hate that chasing a pig skin matters this much to God’s creatures, people who hate to give their team, conference, or sport a bad name, and others who recognize that a historic living entity or a natural resource is so disrespected and wantonly depleted.

Also, you will have those who hate it, but figure it ain’t their team; folks who see it as down right funny, particularly since Auburn “bought” ole Cam Newton by giving his preacher daddy a mess of greenbacks, in order to win a national championship; those who see the act as avoiding the apocalypse entirely, and finally that special population of “red-earthers” who think the poisoning is a mandate from God.

These folks scare the hell out of me, but they also tickle me. They are the Dirty South, the blues, those who are trying to find some reason to get up in the morning, and killing those sumbitching trees over at Auburn is good reason, good enough. If it would make Coach Paul Bear Bryant and the original twelve disciples proud, then it’s good enough!

Poor William worked (go figure) several lifetimes ago in the developmental disability and mental health field. One of his first clients was a giant of a man, kind at heart, very brilliant, but who also had a plethora of mental health issues, as did his case manager, Poor William.

The client had become upset with a particular apartment complex while living in Santa Fe, New Mexico , so he cut down several trees in a prominent area with something akin to a lightweight McCollouch chainsaw. This act in Santa Fe is the equivalentof peeing on the Wailing Wall in Israel, spitting on the Washington monument in the nation’s capitol, or peeing on Elvis’s grave–God Bless the king and his lovely bride Priscilla and daughter, the former  Mrs. Michael Jackson–at Graceland (I know a kid who did this).

What is it with tree hating? They give us shade, oxygen, beauty, and food. But, Poor William doesn’t think it’s about the trees. When rednecks and those of us who are small minded can’t mimic, replicate, or take what another has earned or nurtured, then often we feel the need to destroy it. It is a sad truth, but nonetheless, a truth. However, it does provide grist for Southern Humorists. Go Rebels!

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  1. I think we are misguided worrying about whether or not Iran gets the bomb. I think we should worry about Alabama and Auburn getting the bomb.

    Go RebDawgs

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