I'll take "Famous Driveways" for 100, Alex.
December 1, 2007 7:42 AM   Subscribe

If you remember this scene, then this will be sad news. It's always sad to lose trees, but these are landmarks.
posted by tizzie (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Is this a sad tale? Well, it is sad in the same way that life is sad. We are all needy, and, if we are lucky and any good, we grow old using others and getting used up. Tears fall in our lives like leaves from a tree. Our finitude is not something to be regretted or despised, however; it is what makes giving (and receiving) possible. The more you blame the boy, the more you have to fault human existence. The more you blame the tree, the more you have to fault the very idea of parenting. Should the tree's giving be contingent on the boy's gratitude? If it were, if fathers and mothers waited on reciprocity before caring for their young, then we would all be doomed."
posted by ColdChef at 7:59 AM on December 1, 2007 [6 favorites]

"I'm an oak man myself. You like oak, Jimmy?"

"Oak is nice."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:17 AM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

"After this winter Sr. Fran Moore, the provincial of St. Anne Convent, won't see the orderly line of 50-75 foot tall Pin Oaks made famous in the movie "Rain Man."

Not to be nitpicky, but wow that's a poorly written lead sentence.

One thing I've learned over the years (especially from witnessing so many fires in Southern California over the years) is that nature is very adaptable. The landscape will look different at first, but the new trees will grow quicker than people expect. And they're right to be worried about their safety from huge falling branches. Nobody wants to see flattened nuns.

"I thought it was so special to be at the convent where Tom Cruise filmed at," she said. "We all did the walk down the driveway and had our picture taken on the steps."

What strikes me a bit odd is that the main excitement of the trees seems to be the whole Rainman thing. I'd hope the trees would've been considered special even if they hadn't been in a movie, because they're God's trees & all. I dunno, I'm just thinking when you're at a convent probably Tom Cruise shouldn't be the special guy you're focused on.

Unless you're a Thetan Level 6 of course.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:33 AM on December 1, 2007 [4 favorites]

Trees live a long time, but they don't actually live forever.
posted by smackfu at 8:33 AM on December 1, 2007

Nobody wants to see flattened nuns.
Obviously miss lynnster has never attended Catholic school
posted by Floydd at 8:40 AM on December 1, 2007 [5 favorites]

Obviously miss lynnster has never attended Catholic school

Yeah. There was no way that one was going to get through, was there?
posted by Brockles at 8:43 AM on December 1, 2007

so how many toothpicks is that?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:43 AM on December 1, 2007 [4 favorites]

Yeah, I guess in retrospect that's true. If only the branches all were shaped like rulers I guess it would be karmic payback or something.
posted by miss lynnster at 8:45 AM on December 1, 2007

Thank you for that, ColdChef. I've always found The Giving Tree a sad and disturbing, but I'd never really thought about it from that perspective.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:58 AM on December 1, 2007

Actually, it doesn't make me that sad.
The poor health condition of the almost 70-year-old trees along the convent's front drive, and safety concerns about falling limbs, have prompted the congregation to remove them before winter is over, said Moore...

But the row of 29 oaks that form an almost canopy over the drive won't be gone forever.

The Congregation of Divine Providence planted another row of Pin Oak trees behind the current trees in 1998, knowing the first trees planted in 1938 wouldn¹t live forever, Moore said.

The new trees have grown to between 10 and 15 feet tall already.

"They're not going to grow up overnight," Moore said. "But the driveway will look like it does again."
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:05 AM on December 1, 2007

Trees are living things. Trees get old. Trees die. So often, when we read about some great iconic site being destroyed, it's the fault of a greedy developer, or a psychopathic arsonist, or some similarly blamable person, and we can get good and angry. Not this time. If we were to find anyone culpable in the loss of these trees, it would, theoretically, be God, and I don't think the nuns would appreciate that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2007

What, they can't afford plastic replacements?
posted by washburn at 10:43 AM on December 1, 2007

There are no environmentalists where I live. Just this past August, my lawn featured the oldest, tallest grass in the entire area. I could not find a single person sympathetic to my refusal to cut down my landmark blades.
posted by flarbuse at 10:56 AM on December 1, 2007

I don't get the fascination with the movie angle either.
About the only thing I remember about that mediocre flick was Dustin Hoffman counting toothpicks.
OMG I wonder if they still have the original toothpicks on display somewhere, because it would be worth taking a drive with the missus to see them.
posted by 2sheets at 12:08 PM on December 1, 2007

Well, then, 2sheets, when you get to Pompillio's in Newport, I'll buy you a beer. And the missus, too.
posted by tizzie at 12:20 PM on December 1, 2007

There are oaks that'll live a lot longer than 70 years -- we've been trying to figure out what to plant where our walnut tree came down a few years ago, and aside from figuring out what endemic species will be best for our soil type, I'm also trying to figure out what'll last a good long while. Live Oaks can live for several hundred years, but are subject to oak wilt, if you get unlucky.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:24 PM on December 1, 2007

posted by rainman84 at 12:48 PM on December 1, 2007

I used to live on a farm and we had a pin-oak that was over six feet in diameter. I could shelter 6 goats lined up head to tail around the trunk during a rain storm. That tree must have been at least 200 years old, but it was growing on an open south-facing hill between a barn and a creek, so it was very well fed and watered. Pin oaks don’t often get that big or live that long. Also goats aren’t much inclined to rush out and sue the Catholic Church if a falling tree limb smashes one of them.

Nevertheless, nuns who sacrifice beauty for freedom from indemnity deserve neither and are relegated to Purgatory.
posted by Huplescat at 2:48 PM on December 1, 2007

Another famous tree, but reprieved!

(Yes -- I watch that dopey Huell Howser show."Luis! Luis! Get a shot of this! ANTS! Aren't they amaaaaaazing? Look at 'em go!")
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:30 PM on December 1, 2007

Many many years ago, Huell Howser *allegedly* chased a friend of mine around a table once. So every time I hear his voice now I imagine him doing that and whining "Heeeeyyyyyy! Come heeeeeeeeere! Why are yaa ruuuunnin'?"

Makes me chuckle every damn time.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:38 PM on December 1, 2007

It is not growing like a tree
    In bulk, doth make man better be;
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sere:
        A lily of a day
        Is fairer far in May,
    Although it fall and die that night;
    It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see;
And in short measures, life may perfect be.

— Ben Jonson
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:15 PM on December 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

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