The Oldest Tree in Anyville
An excerpt from, “Anyville: A Visitor’s Guide.”
In the northwest section of the small town of Anyville stands an old tree – the oldest one within the town proper. It is not a particularly attractive tree nor is it truly that old. Anyvillle borders true old growth forest with beautiful trees that climb to heights of 115 feet (that’s over 35 meters for those of you that don’t speak American.) These trees were already old when the newly arrived colonists began to deforest vast tracks of land on the East Coast, but I digress.
The tree that I was speaking of is referred to simply as “that old tree,” usually with a grimace by the native Anyvillians. Even Miss Ellen Spindlemarm, owner of the Book Loft and oldest living relic, I mean person, in Anyville – whose bookstore’s balcony is held up on one corner by “that old tree,” has nothing nice to say about it. The fact that Miss Ellen has little nice to say of anything is a story for another day. Suffice it to say, we are pleased that Miss Ellen’s pretty little niece, Ms. Helen Dimpleworth, now runs the corner bookshop.
Anyway, we asked Miss Ellen about “that old tree” as we were composing “Anyville: A Visitor’s Guide.” We don’t have enough room in this guidebook for the diatribe that followed that question. Miss Ellen hinted that Ezra Dribble the hated, unacknowledged, barely mentioned second settler of the area – the first being the true first settlers: the Native American Tribe that lived here before Dribble and his family (and the only first settlers that Anyville is proud of) – Miss Ellen hinted that Ezra Dribble is buried under “that old tree!”
She went on to describe in excruciating detail how, back in the early 1950s, termites attacked the Book Loft, leaving “that old tree” completely untouched. We think it must be the stench of Dribble that drove them off, but that is covered in another section of this guidebook, and we have babbled on enough already.
Clem, the town’s barber and previous mayor until his eighty-second birthday a couple of years ago, added that “that old tree” has survived lighting strikes, fire, and vandalism. The eyesore, with its near black bark and sparse foliage will likely outlive Miss Ellen, Clem, and all of the now living inhabitants of Anyville. It is said that even the birds and squirrels avoid it.
Its only claim to fame is that a few years ago it was featured on the Haunted Paranormal Animate and Inanimate Things TV Show. Anyvillians gathered inside the Book Loft and the barbershop, snickering quietly into their hands as they listened to, “Did you hear that? Was that a sound? Was there a movement? Could this tree be haunted?”