Return to North Glen or Reading List or Credo

Ed's Immortality Insurance

As told by Kristine Filer

Just outside the sleepy wee village of Palnackie on the banks of the River Urr, lies North Glen, the remains of an old farm. My friend Ed came to live there in 1972 when he was thirty - he's sixty one now. Ed was born in Maryland in America and lived in many different places in North America before settling in Palnackie, which he considers the heart of the universe. Ed says being a foreigner all his life, he never belonged anywhere he lived, and as an outsider has a built-in tendency to observe.

Ed's a man of the woods. Most of the trees you see around North Glen, he planted. He's six foot five (or used to be), big bushy beard and tells a good story. When he first came to live at North Glen, he soon learned that the local kids exploring their play territory around the village sooner or later ended up at North Glen. Old men in the village have told him that they used to show up and be put to work, "When I was a lad, I was never away from North Glen. I used tae gan up there and they'd shove a brush in ma hand and pit me to sweepin' the midden," so nothing changes...

One day a bunch of kids arrived and Ed decided to show them something. He took them through his wood to the road from the village leading to South Glen Farm. There at the top of the field, he brought the kids to a bit of beech hedge 'n says "Look at that."

They're all lookin' at the hedge, then at Ed, they say,"Yeh - So?"

He says, "What about that beech tree on the other side?" Looking at the tree from the road, it's a fine strong young beech, maybe thirty years old.... Ed explains, "One of the branches of the hedge has got away from the horrible hedge-mangler." Standing on the road, looking over the hedge, you're looking downhill; you'd think it was a tree, and it is, but you're standing on its roots.

"Truth is, it's growing away out from the bottom of the hedge. One day, either a big wind will come out of the west, or it'll just get so heavy, it'll fall and its roots will pull up a great hole in the road," says Ed.

By then maybe those kids' will have kids or grandchildren of their own, and they'll be walking up there and say, "Remember old Ed? He used to say this would happen!"

And there lies Ed's immortality insurance.

Kids still come exploring and visiting to this day, asking, "Show us the tree that got away."
"I've already shown you."
"Aye, but wee Billy has'nae seen it...."

Return to North Glen or Reading List or Credo

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Valid CSS!