Goodbye Tree

We lost a tree today. It’s actually been dead for some time now, but unlike dead people, dead trees often manage to stay standing for quite a long time. But today it came down with a chainsaw induced crash. I’m struck by some emotion over this (it’s not my first such nostalgic goodbye), it had to go, but it’s always been there.

We’ve lived in our home for 27 years, and the tree was here first. So that’s how long we were acquainted. It was a pine tree of some sort. I don’t know enough about trees to specify a particular sort of pine tree. But it had needles, and cones, and sap, and smelled like pine. That was good enough.

Years ago, we were visited by a young man who lived in our house before us during his childhood, his family was the original owners (we’re the third – did any of us really ‘own’ the home? – but I digress). This young man told me that for their first Christmas in this home, they had a live Christmas tree that they planted in the yard after the holidays. This was our pine tree. I wrote about it at the time.

Pine tree saw our three kids grow up, providing sturdy and evenly spaced limbs for young climbers, and plenty of sap to sticky them up to mark their efforts. Tree’s branches supported piñatas at birthday parties, and bird feeders that were quickly emptied by acrobatic squirrels. Tree’s shade was of a superior quality. Yet each year tree dispersed piles of brown needles which covered our roof, filled our rain gutters, and took out one hot tub pump after sneaking past the filters.

In tree’s shadow is a younger dogwood tree that I planted 12 years ago on an inspired arbor day. I wrote about it at the time. Dogwood has done well in Pine’s shadow, and will now enjoy much greater light, now that Pine’s not there to cast a shadow any longer. I’m glad that Dogwood will inherit the legacy of being the tree planted by one of this home’s rotating owners.

Pine tree fell victim to some sort of boring beetle (I’ve yet to ever meet an engaging beetle). Goodbye Tree. You will be missed, and remembered as your remains will be cremated in many driveway fires for years to come.

Poetry by Will

My son Will is a college sophomore, and while away at school he accepted an offer from my wife and I to help clean out his room which was half full of empty gatorade bottles, old college mail, long neglected toys, and returned homework. The upside for Will is our plan is to buy him a larger bed, yet we have an alterior motive (two words: guest room).

Today while sorting papers, my wife found the below gem from a class that Will does not recall. The obvious assignment Will was faced with, was to write some poetry in various styles. Reading them brought me tears of laughter and pride, and with Will’s permission, I offer them here for your own poetic pleasure.  So, no offense intended to poets or poetry lovers, I offer Will’s homework assignment:

Part 2: My Own Wonderful Words


I Can’t Write Poetry

Poetry is pretty black and white

You can either do it or you can’t.

I’m pretty sure I’m one of those who can’t.

Poetry is garbage; it’s not even tight.

I hate poetry really bad

So I’m gonna go cry to my dad.


Poetry Kills

One time, I got hit by a train.

The impact caused me severe pain.

I’m pretty sure my leg fell off

And that my lung collapsed, so I coughed.

But I blacked out, I don’t remember.

I’m not sure if I was dismembered.

And when I came to,

I realized I couldn’t move.

There, all messed up on pain pills

I realized, poetry kills.


I Hate Poetry

Cows say, “Moo!”

Pigs say, “Oink!”

Dogs say, “Bark!”

I say, “I hate poetry!”


Poetry Isn’t Fun

Today, I find myself writing a poem

And it has put me in the worst mood ever.

Will I ever need poetry in life? No, never.

So why are we wasting this paper?

Poetry makes me want to kick a puppy

And also to set fire to a forest

The whole poetry system I protest.

I think poetry is more useless then a guppy.

I think the clear purpose of poetry

Is to make kids feel terrible.

And it’s working, I fell like fresh poultry

But another could be to make kids cry

And if that were the true reason for poetry

Then it’s working, I want to die.


Poetry is Diseased

One day, I was writing a poem

And then my mouth started to foam.

I realized that I have rabies

And I had a desire to eat babies.

I went to the nearest hospital

When I found I doctor with a monocle.

He was a very old man

Who told me his name was Dan.

He told me my ailment was caused

By a common virus found in poetry.

Free Verse

Poetry is Pointless

Free verse poetry is kind of pointless.

It has no rhyme, rhythm, or purpose.

So it’s pretty much some random words

Thrown together, like this project.

Free verse poets and I have some common ground

We both have no idea how to write real poetry.

But at least I don’t waste my time.

Someone needs to tell them soon

That poetry is a waste, get a real job.


20 Years Ago Today – C-17 First Flight

Twenty years ago today, on September 15, 1991, the C-17 Globmaster III made it’s first flight. My father, Bill Casey, was the pilot in command on that flight. Today he is at Edwards Air Force with my mom, to watch that very plane known as T-1 return and be retired from service.

Take a few minutes if you have them to watch this video about that flight, the voiceover at the end is my Dad speaking. When I think of all the servicemen and women who have been delivered and returned in C-17s over the last 20-years, I burst with pride at the important role my father had in the development of this aircraft.

Congrats Dad, the First Flight crew, and to everyone at Douglas Aircraft on this special anniversary!

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