Written by Skip Boyer


It was a flashback of the worse possible kind.

There was Furthermore sailing about the upper reaches of the great cavern below my home trailing a banner admonishing me to VOTE!!! Smaller banners and signs decorated the rack, the iron maiden and the charred stake in the center of the room. It was very unsettling. Especially since I thought we were through with the voting thing for another four years or so. Even the hydra was stunned.

Well, in all honesty, it could have been the small thermonuclear device I had dropped in its supper bowl. That would stun you almost as bad as an election flashback, I suppose.

I slipped in just as the small mushroom cloud was clearing over the moat. Furthermore emerged from it, trailing his banner. “I’ll vote, you feather-headed twit!” I yelled at him. “I vote you off the planet! We’ve finished with elections! Go away!” The old bird settled down in front of me on the bar. “My! Out of sorts, aren’t we today?” He had that awful smug look that usually precedes me getting shown up in some spectacular way. Even the hydra was waiting in semi-stunned anticipation. “Besides,” he continued, “It’s not that election. Who cares about voting for a Bush when you can vote for a tree?” Okay. This is the point where I lose complete control of the conversation.

You usually recognize this spot before I do. And, true to form, I missed it again.

“What are you babbling about, bird?” The correct response would have been to leave the room quietly before someone got hurt.

The bird just grinned and proceeded to unroll a poster with his beak. It was from the National Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska and in big, bold Nebraska-sized letters, it admonished me to VOTE FOR AMERICA’S NATIONAL TREE.

Well. Here’s a tough call. I mean, I like the great Oak trees, but I think the Redwoods are pretty spectacular, too, although I've always felt they were big conservatives. I’m sweet on Maples, too, but they're reported to be liberals. Of course, if you’re from Nebraska, the Cottonwood tree has a special place in your heart. I’m also fond of Aspen trees, Pine trees, shoe trees, family trees and menage a trees.

Of course, for Furthermore, who spends a great deal of time hanging about in trees, this is a big deal. Why, he argues, shouldn’t we have a National Tree? We have national flowers, birds (a source of disgust to Furthermore. The eagle. Really!), flags, anthems, rocks and bolo ties. Why not a tree? Well, why knot?

Anyway, we want you to help. As weird as it sounds, this is not a joke. Remember, however, it comes from Nebraska. So do I. Wanna make something of it? I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to bark at you. We have deep roots in Nebraska. You really can go out on a limb and vote for your favorite tree and you can do it without harming a tree. No hanging chads here, thank you very much. Go to www.arborday.org and vote. This is the web site for the National Arbor Day Foundation. You can vote there through April 26. There are 21 trees on the ballot. The winner will be announced on April 27, which is, coincidentally, Arbor Day.

Furthermore’s choice? Why, he thought you’d never ask. He’s voting for the Gallows tree. Actually, I think he’s just kidding. He has a soft spot in his heart for the Oak. Anyway, it’s a relief not to be voting for a bush, you know?


To all Lodge Trestle Board editors: Feel free to use any of the tales of Furthermore. Should you choose to do so, however, we deny any responsibility for actions by your own lodge. If, after the first couple of columns, the brethren appear restless and begin to surge toward you as you enter the lodge room, we suggest you flee and deny any connection with Furthermore.