Monthly Archives: April 2016

Yet Another Tree Story for Earth Day


In 2000, we started looking for our first home. This place was too small, that one was too expensive. Then we found one where the size was good and the price right because the couple was divorcing (it happens). I was sold on it at the curb because of the trees.

If you live in North Texas, you understand the attraction. You seek trees in hot parking lots and sports fields and just about anywhere else really, especially when there’s no breeze. I used to make the kids crisscross the street to the shadier side on their walk home from elementary school.

Two trees on the west side of our front yard provide a canopy of cool as you walk up the curvy sidewalk to the door. The first one you see is the Bradford pear.

This much-maligned ornamental lives 18-25 years because as it matures, the canopy spreads, pulling down limbs as it grows, even to the point of splitting at times. Some people don’t like the way they look so they cut them down. Their growth pattern makes it easy for nature to carve out a tree that IS hard to love.

Part of the issue with our property is that after we moved in, we realized that two other mature trees, not Bradford pears, should be cut down. The one on the west side of the house was dead. The one on the east side of the front of the house seemed to have three trunks and we feared one branch might be splitting and possibly falling onto the neighbor’s house. Nope, another goner.

I’m not just rooting for this Bradford pear’s longevity because now I only have two trees instead of three in the front yard.

No, I’m partial to the pear because it’s full of life —

even though it’s been cracked open by freezing rain,


neatly pecked by the street woodpecker


and otherwise disturbed by microbursts.

(I’m sure our neighbors across the way hate the view.)

So my husband carefully prunes those heavy branches. We sweep the flower detritus from the walkway and rake the leaves as the seasons require. And after every storm, we check on the Bradford pear first.

This is our welcome tree: Beautiful in its imperfection and ferociously resilient. I would like to be like that.


(By the way, the second tree, a native live oak, is doing well, providing shade over the roof and protection from hail. The squirrels love it, too.)





The Cal State Fullerton Treatment Room


I have a successful dental practice in a relatively remote location in Northwest Arkansas — a resort-retirement community. My office has three treatment rooms, each one decorated with pleasant pictures, to put patients at ease. The Cal State Fullerton room pays homage to my undergraduate years and I still follow this school’s sports teams online, especially baseball.

One day, Preston was welcomed to this shrine. He asked if I’d gone to school there and when. He shared that he had grown up there knowing another “Bushay.” Before we knew it, he was making a connection to my family.

I was skeptical until he said he knew my dad AND his brother, Brent.

Byron and Brent were only 11 months apart. Preston said he didn’t remember Dad having any girlfriends in school (he and Mom got married before graduation). But he recalled Brent having several and that rang true.

He mentioned that both brothers seemed to know the principal well!  He reBBushaymembered Dad joining the Army soon after high school and the newspaper article about his death.  And even my Dad’s program to have seeds sent to him in Vietnam for distribution to farmers.

Even though I was running way behind on the day’s appointments, I just pulled up a chair and settled in for a good chat. Preston knew my Dad from first grade on.

He said he might be able to locate his yearbooks, which could have pictures I’ve never seen. Over 49 years after Dad’s death and 1,576 miles from where I was born, I got to know more about Staff Sergeant Byron Haley Bushay, who died as a result of friendly fire in 1966 during the Vietnam War when he was only 22. Everything I knew about this 11F-Infantry Operations and Intelligence Specialist I got from my Mom and official documents. I wasn’t quite two years old when he died.

Preston is the only person outside of my family that I have ever met who knew my dad. Now I have a bigger picture of my Father from a complete stranger who just happened to need a dentist in a little corner of Arkansas. What are the chances of that happening?

By T. Bushay