June 10, 2008
Originally published November 5, 2003
If you've never played in a chinaberry tree, you missed something growing up. I don't see many of them around Savannah anymore, but I remember them being everywhere when I was a child.
I see them every time I drive the back roads coming home from north Georgia. Usually chinaberry trees are growing large and wild over some abandoned, dilapidated outbuilding on a farm and their branches seem to be hugging that old, weathered wood the way a mama hugs a baby. This time of year, the berries are yellow.
The berries are no good to eat (I believe that they are poisonous), but they make damn fine ammunition. Get a pocketfull of chinaberries and a slingslot, and you're fixed for war. If my mama knew half the shit my friends and I did with chinaberries when I was young, she'd have a heart attack.
I wrote a song about a chinaberry tree. Here are the words:
I remember Grandma's porch swing
My grandpa was a carpenter
(I get to wishing every now and then
My mama always warned me
That tree blew down in a hurricane
Yeah, I get get to wishing every now and then
It's really a pretty good song.
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