"I wouldn't want to be a tree in Bruce, Miss." Those were the words of a young Tom Yancy in a 1974 Letter to the Editor published in The Journal.
Tom's letter voiced his displeasure with a severe tree trimming that occurred on the Bruce Square that reduced the "beautiful trees" to a bunch of "stubs." (See the inserted picture).
"The square was once the most beautiful part of Bruce but of course that's all changed now – 20 to 30 years of growing down the drain," Yancy wrote.
"I know if I were a tree I'd hate to grow in Bruce," Yancy continued. "You'd be cut and trimmed till you died."
I felt compelled to share Tom's concerns from 1974 because they are eerily similar to many I've heard recently.
For the past few weeks a tree-trimming crew has been working its way around Bruce clearing away limbs from the power lines. Pontotoc Electric Power Association, one of Bruce and this county's greatest stewards, contracts the work out. You can imagine the chewings PEPA of Bruce Director Bobby Wells and his team takes on a regular basis as a result of the tree trimming.
While sympathetic to the numerous complaints, PEPA still has a job to do. Wells explained that Bruce is the hub for power in this area from its substation. The power goes out from Bruce in four directions serving thousands of people. A tree limb, on a perfectly clear day, can rub on a line due to a slight breeze and cause power to flicker for miles.
In the right conditions, the trees are also capable of conducting electricity creating a dangerous situation. Wells said you can often walk out around the trees that are close to the lines and hear the popping, like sparklers on the Fourth of July, from the limbs rubbing the hot lines.
PEPA is justified in trying to protect its lines and customers, but we need to find a better solution than leaving trees behind that look like the one pictured here.
Too many of our trees around town have been hacked and slaughtered to the point they hardly look like trees.
Bruce is the city "Where Money Grows In Trees," as coined by my late father-in-law S. Gale Denley. There's no money in a tree that looks like the ones pictured above.
Our trees are the defining symbol of this city. Every effort should be made to insure we have the largest, most beautiful trees anywhere in the world.
To do that we've got to figure out a way to get them away from the power lines and the mangling saws.
PEPA will remove a tree interfering with its lines at no cost to the property owner. Perhaps we can come up with a program to take that a step further and make it more appealing.
My suggestion would be for every tree a property owner allows PEPA to remove, PEPA would agree to plant two more, either on that property or elsewhere in town.
I know we all hate to lose a tree after years and years of growth, but if it's going to forever look like these pictured here, is it really worth saving?
You may email Joel McNeece at firstname.lastname@example.org