Trenton Tree City celebrated Arbor Day on April 15. We planted a red dogwood at Dade Elementary. It was in honor of Mary Petruska. This is what happened.
Georgia Senator Jeff Mullis and Dade County Executive Chairman Ted Rumley got there on time. So did Eileen Stone, who works for the school, Jennifer Wood, who teaches there, and Jennifer Wood’s kindergarten class.
Eloise Gass and Carolyn Boatner of Tree City were there, too. Jerry Wallace came late. So did The Dade Planet.
Everybody waited for Mary.
Eileen Stone said something to Sen. Mullis about Washington, D.C. Sen. Mullis explained he was a state senator, not a U.S, senator. He said he represented her in Atlanta, not Washington. He said state senators made $17,000 a year. He said U.S. senators made $117,000 a year.
Mary still was not there.
But the kindergarten class had to leave. So Jerry Wallace took this picture of Sen. Mullis and Chairman Rumley with the class and with Tree City members.
Ted Rumley is in the back, on the left. Next to him is Eloise Gass. In front is Jennifer Wood, with her kindergarten class. Sen. Mullis is on the right.
The kindergarten class went back into the school then. That's when Mary came.
Mary said she was sorry for being late. She said she did not like mornings. She said she had often asked Eloise to plant flowers in the afternoon instead.
But Eloise always planned things for morning anyway.
Mary said she was happy to be honored with the tree. The Planet took this picture of her with it.
Mary was pretending to plant the tree. But she couldn't really because the hole we dug wasn't deep enough. That was because there was a big rock under it.
Everybody made a speech.
Sen. Mullis said we would watch this tree grow as we watched the children grow. “Hopefully one day this tree will be a substantial part of this community," he said.
Ted Rumley said he was thankful for people who planted trees in Dade County. “Without that, this would be a barren land," he said.
Eloise Gass said Mary often told her, "I like digging in the dirt with you because you're the one that learned me how to dig in the dirt."
Mary said she had met Eloise when she joined Tree City soon after arriving in Dade from New York City. “We wanted to be part of the community," she said. "So we got a newspaper and figured out what we could volunteer for."
Carolyn Boatner said, “If everybody did that, can you imagine what this world would be?”
The Dade Planet said that Mary was proof that Dade County is the center of the universe. The Planet said Dade County had sucked Mary from a loft in Manhattan to plant trees in Dade County. The Planet is always saying things like that.
Jerry Wallace said Dade County needed more restaurants. Eileen Stone said she would vote for Jeff Mullis.
Then Ted Rumley II arrived. He works for the Georgia Forestry Service. He was driving a big truck with a tractor on it.
Ted II said the Georgia Forestry Service is always working to plant trees. He asked why the Georgia Forestry Service does not get more publicity. The Planet pointed out that Ted II had not been in time for the picture with the kindergarten class and the senator.
Ted II picked up the shovel. Everybody had posed with it but Ted dug with it. He dug a new hole for the tree. We all watched him.
It was a good, deep hole that Ted II dug. Eloise, Mary and Jerry helped Ted II plant the tree in it.
That is the story of Mary's tree. We gave it water so it would grow. We do not know if the tree will be a substantial member of the community. But it is a red dogwood that has pretty pink flowers in the spring. Every springtime, the flowers will make us think of Mary.
That is all. Thank you.