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Ted’s Tree
 

Of all the trees on our farm, this oak holds a special place in our heart, for it is here that my best friend rests.

Ted came to us strictly by chance (and luck). We got him from a young woman who was taking him to the animal shelter, declaring that he “was the dumbest dog she had ever seen”. She had formed this opinion after having the eight-week old puppy for one whole night. I took the dog and immediately started trying to find it a home as I was afraid my wife would kill me for taking this puppy without discussing it with her. Having failed in this endeavor, I brought him home where I left him in the house alone for my wife to discover, while I hid outside to see the reaction. It worked, she loved him immediately and I was off the hook.

Ted, (he got this name because he at first looked like a little bear), proved quickly that there was not a dumb bone in his body. Most things he learned on the first try. He quickly grew to roughly 100 pounds of strength, power, speed, quickness, and agility. But was still a gentle giant.

Ted went everywhere I could take him and did not understand when someone sat in his spot in our Jeep. If they did he would just sit down in the lap of that person. When I got a candy bar, he got a candy bar. When I got out of the Jeep he moved to protect my spot. More than one person quickly rolled up their car window at a stop light when they looked out -and up- to see him hanging out the window, looking curiously at them.

Ted was always watching, protecting, his humans. He always kept himself between us and any stranger. There is more than one story of how he got someone’s attention who might have in fun grabbed one of us.

A neighbor’s cows got out once and decided that the grass did look better on our side of the fence. I discovered them in the field where there was not only some nice grass but some newly planted trees. The cows moved out with some gentle coaxing but at the last minute this huge bull thought that he was losing face with his lady friends and decided to teach me a lesson. As he turned and charged I thought “what am I going to do!? I am in the middle of this open field, not the quickest or the fastest person in the world, nothing to get behind or climb…. I’m in it deep!!!!!” From nowhere comes Ted, placing himself between that huge bull and me. He crouched in front of this charging animal and refused to move. Well, this bull came to a screeching halt a few feet in front of Ted, thinking better of what he was doing. He snorted and stomped but Ted never moved. Finally the bull changed his mind and retreated, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the dog who never gave ground until he (the bull) was on his own land. Needless to say, Ted ate gooood that night.

A lot of kids grew to know Ted over the years as they came to get their family Christmas tree. He patiently withstood their hugs and tugs, yelling, sitting on him, endless candy canes, and general horseplay. He wore out more than one shoulder playing tug-of-war with children and adults. And if you ever felt sad or lonely he somehow just showed up to sit gently on your feet as if to comfort you.

All thru the years, Ted followed us up and down every row as we worked. But there came a time when his body began to fail  and, try as he might, he could not keep up with his humans. So he would go to this oak and rest in its shade -  but leaving its protection if we were out of his sight for very long. Doctors said his heart was huge and that was his problem. Any of us could have told him that Ted’s heart was huge.

We felt an uneasiness as we left for vacation, going so far as to tell our in-laws what to do if something happened while we were away. I cannot forget the look in his eyes as we drove away that morning.

We did not speak of it then but my wife and I both worried for Ted constantly while away. The return trip home was made as fast as possible, without any of our normal stops or side trips.

Ted was buried where he is today, his heart finally having had enough. I will never forgive myself for notPhoto of dog being there for him as he was for me.

This is now a special spot. The wrought iron was done by Mr. Rick Hannon. The split rail fence is yellow locust from northern Greenville County and is all hand-split. Stones have been removed from the creek behind our home to keep the fence joints off the ground. Ted has a marker as would any member of the family. His collar travels with me most anywhere I go.

Feel free to visit Ted during your stay at May-Lan and do not hesitate to ask about him. And if you need to talk to someone who always was totally nonjudgmental or somewhere to sit and relax, Ted and his Tree will be there.

 



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May-Lan Tree Plantation
156 Cooley Bridge Road
Pelzer, SC  29669
(864) 243-3092
(864) 243-3065 (fax)
Store Hours: (Seasonal)

 
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Last Update: 11/07/2014