Masked Fan Speaks--5-8-09As I write this I am experiencing equal amounts of sadness, disappointment and anger. Some senseless, brainless twit has taken it upon himself to level a local icon, something that has meant a lot to so many people for decades.
Straight from the Secret Cave…..
In a straight line from the Honking Tree…
On the Scandinavian Gold Coast….
THE MASKED FAN SPEAKS!
LARSMONT…. As I write this I am experiencing equal amounts of sadness, disappointment and anger. Some senseless, brainless twit has taken it upon himself to level a local icon, something that has meant a lot to so many people for decades. In the night time hours last Wednesday the Honking Tree, a local legend, was cut down and laid on its side.
It is not that we have a shortage of trees on the Shore, (I would never cut one down just for the sake of doing so) it is that this particular tree became such a landmark relative to the North Shore and to the local Two Harbors area. Passing the Honking Tree meant that you were back home or near it, it meant that you were coming back to your favorite vacation place or your summer cabin. Honking at the tree upon passing by it was both a special acknowledgement to the tree and to all things about the area that may be dear to any and everyone that ever had a connection to the area.
For me, I lived relatively close to it one time. And as a lover of all things outdoors, I appreciated the tree right away. In my first couple of months of living in Larsmont, I recall wondering why I was hearing so many car horn “honks” every day. Then I got my Honking tree “education”. I can safely say that I never drove past it from that point on without giving the customary “honk”. Sure, sometimes that incurred quizzical glances from unknowing motorists around me, but neither the tree nor I cared. We both knew what was up.
And yes, I can tie this into a sports story of sorts. Years back when the Fan Jr. was finishing up his Mite Hockey eligibility, we had a couple of games scheduled down in Cloquet. And these were going to be a couple of tough games against tough opponents. The Fan Jr’s. teammate “Double A” was going to be with us that day because his folks could not make it due to other events.
So, on a gorgeous winter Saturday morning we loaded up the gear, stopped for a couple of hot chocolates and a coffee to go, and headed down the expressway. Sure enough, upon passing the Honking Tree, as was our custom, we honked once as an acknowledgement to that grand old tree, and as also was our custom, once more for good luck.
We had a couple of barn burner type contests that day. I’m talking about back and forth, full out skating, top notch goaltending, barn burner contests. And we prevailed in both of them. Normally you think of young kids as never running out of gas, well, these 5-to-8 year old athletes were pretty silent in the locker room after the second contest, happy, exhilarated, but really quiet. That’s when I knew how much they had put into those games. Heck, I was a little wrung out myself.
We loaded our gear back up, and left for home. It was a quiet ride back to the Shore. We were happy and gratified to have been victorious, but quiet nonetheless. As we came into the Larsmont area and as we neared the tree I could see the Fan Jr. and Double A sit up in their seats slightly, and all of us had adjusted our glances toward the fabled land mark.
About 100 yards before passing it, I gave the one honk signal, our customary “honk of honor”. Then I pressed down on the horn and kept it there. I extended my other arm and clenched my fist to our wooden icon, our symbol for all things North Shore. I took a quick look into the rearview mirror, and there were two little arms doing the very same thing.
We got past the tree and I let off of the horn. I extended my fist toward the back seat and we bumped fists and kept going. Not a word was said. Not a word was necessary. We knew what this spiritual exchange was all about, and so did “our” tree. And now we are left to deal with our emotions over this senseless act.
For the perpetrator, I can only hope that you are caught and that your punishment somehow includes the use of your chainsaw on you. What in the HELL were you thinking? Please note here and now that I will throw in the 1st $100 towards a reward for information leading to your arrest and conviction. And by the way, I wouldn’t mind getting to slap you a couple of times either.
And just so the tree will live on forever, (here is my suggestion) prepare the stump and the bottom of the trunk with “pins”, and then lower (“reattach”) the trunk to the stump with a bed of glue in between. Then remove the bark, (which could be done beforehand) and get local carvers John Gage and Tom Sveine to go to work.
On one “side” of the trunk I would have them carve into the wood, not an American Indian type of totem pole, but a totem pole made up of local landmarks, i.e.; the Lighthouse, Split Rock, Gooseberry Falls, etc… On the other side I would have them chisel/etch into the trunk the story behind this magnificent local legend. Then complete the job with some heavy varnishing and some minor landscaping around the tree. I would like to throw in the 1st $100 towards that project as well.
While the guilty party has temporarily saddened and dampened the spirits of the many thousands of people of whose hearts and souls this grand landmark was a part of, the Honking Tree can and will live on. If I have learned one thing in all of my years of existence here, it is that the human spirit cannot be defeated…. ever. I will look forward to the day when you are standing tall once again, my arm is extended to you today, and forever…. PEACE
MFAN EXTRA: Mine that Bird, a 50-1 long shot came out of nowhere to win the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby. Can you say WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO? OUT!