Part three of Friends of My Childhood as Mike and Moose and Me go from adventure to adventure in the early 1950s. In this story we attempt to make trees grow overnight with a full bag of fertilizer. Mike's yard of course,most stuff started there.
Trees Grow Fast
“Fertilizer makes things grow faster.” Mike’s dad answered.
Well that answered our question as Moose and Me watched Mike’s dad put the last of the fertilizer on their front lawn. The next day was Saturday and we were up early because today was the day the man from the nursery was to come and plant two new trees in Mike’s front yard.
The old guy from the nursery arrived in a grass colored green pickup with two small trees in the back. He was a short, gruff man with a burned out brown stub of a cigar in his mouth. If we asked enough times he would answer our questions. “What kind of trees are those, why are they so small, where are you gonna put them, where did you get them.”
We watched as he carefully marked out and then dug the holes for the small Maples in the front yard between the sidewalk and the street. It took a long time so we left to chase the neighbor’s cat for a while and then crawled into the back of his green pickup. “Hey you kids get out of that pickup,” we jumped down into the street a car hit its brakes swerved, honked and slowed down, we laughed and ran behind the house.
Finally he was finished; we peeked around the house as he watered in the trees with the garden hose hooked to the side of the house. When he left we went around to look at the new trees, they were taller than we thought, a little taller than any of us. They were too small to climb but we tried anyway, but after only a few seconds and two broken limbs, which we threw behind the garage to hide, we gave up.
After waiting for two days, we found out that these trees were not that much fun. They were just too small. “Fertilizer makes things grow faster and there is still some in the garage,” I said remembering Mike’s dad.
We ran up the hill to the garage threw open the door and it was still there in a big gunnysack, fertilizer, “it makes things grow faster.”
No one was home but we knew it would be all right, fertilizer makes things grow faster. Fertilizer tastes really bad; we didn’t need too grow that fast anyway. But it would have been fun to be bigger than anyone in town by tomorrow.
We loaded the magic fertilizer into Moose’s wagon and hauled it to the front yard, Moose pulling and me and Mike pushing, kind of. When we got to the new trees we very carefully dug around them in the soft new dirt. Then we scooped in large amounts of the very high nitrogen lawn fertilizer. We talked it over and decided that we needed to pour in the rest of the bag; hopefully the trees would be big enough to climb by tomorrow. After all we had heard about Jack and his beanstalk. We carefully replaced the dirt so no one would know the reasons the trees were growing so well. We weren’t sure but we suspected that all the big trees in our neighborhood were planted in the past few years and then given fertilizer to make them so tall. All three of us thought it was strange that the mean old guy from the nursery didn’t know that trees needed a bunch of fertilizer, but then we figured maybe he wasn’t as smart as we were!
We stretched out the hose, sprayed each other a few times, and then watered the trees really good, one more time. Our days work complete, I ran home.
We watched the trees over the next few days very carefully, and they were not growing. As a matter of fact the leaves fell off and they started to look dead. Every day when no one was around we would dutifully drag out the hose and water the trees, hoping that they would start to grow, but that never happened. We suspected that the guy from the nursery, the gruff old guy with the cigar, had brought up some sick trees. You would think that someone who works with trees could tell the difference between a sick tree and a healthy one.
After a wait of nearly three weeks, we were playing ‘kick the can’ half-heartedly, in front of my house when we saw it. A green pick-up truck pulled up in front of Mike’s house and stopped. We ran through Howard’s and Conrad’s front yards and slid to a stop by the dead trees in Mike’s front yard. We watched as two new trees were unloaded.
This time there were two of them, guys from the nursery, and the gruff-cigar man was not one of them. We suspected the cigar guy got fired for not knowing a good tree from a bad one. The man driving the pick-up was nice and answered all our questions as we watched them pull out the dead Maples. The other guy did most of the digging his name was Butch and he didn’t seem to like digging much. I thought everyone liked to dig, especially with the shinny new shovels these guys had.
They carefully placed two new trees in the holes and packed dirt around them. While they worked they talked about the soil smelling funny, “almost sour,” the older man said.
Butch suggested that maybe it needed some fertilizer, but the older man, who Butch called Boss, said “no I don’t think they need anything, they should be O.K.
Mike started to tell them that we had already helped them out by fertilizing but Moose and me stopped him, we didn’t know why we stopped him, but we did. In a few days the trees started to loose their leaves and once again, two dead trees.
After some trickery by Mike’s dad, he found out about us and the fertilizer and boy were we in trouble. But sometimes these things work out really good, we got to dig out the dirt from the tree holes.
Four trees later, Mike’s dad gave up. Two green pick-ups from the nursery came back with three men to dig huge holes where the trees had been and put in new dirt from the back of their pickups. When they were finished they raked over the holes and planted grass. The man called boss from the last time told us, “Now you boys, don’t put any fertilizer or water on this grass, let your Dad water, O.K. We said that we would do as he said. This whole thing of growing stuff wasn’t much fun any more anyway.
I ran home!