Topic: "Nat King Cole Sucks"(5)
Sam's late father, the gallant Howard, was always giving gifts to Frodo. One year, a long, long time ago, at Christmas, he gave Frodo a bag of chestnuts. Frodo probably thought of at least 247,655 other things he would rather have received as a gift, but he accepted them in the spirit of the Season. Upon his return to the Shire, Frodo placed the chestnuts into the vegetable bin of his ice box, and promptly forgot about them.
Sometime into the New Year, Sam asked Frodo what he intended to do with the plastic bag filled with chestnuts in the ice box. Wisely interpreting that as a signal for action, Frodo commenced to shovel the chestnuts into the garbage pail, but not before noting that there were sprouts growing from several of the subjects in the bounty before him. Despite the time of the year, Frodo dug three holes in various locations about the Shire, and placed a single chestnut into each hole. He thought no more of those acts for the remainder of the football and basketball seasons.
The chestnuts were, due to the horrible blight which devastated the American Chestnut population in the Appalachian region several decades ago, English Chestnuts. Frodo, frankly, understood not the difference, but he assumed that, not unlike most Englishmen he had ever met, the English Chestnuts were either gay and or unintelligible.
Sometime in the Spring that followed, Frodo noted the very beginnings of trees emanating in the areas where he had planted the English Chestnuts months before. This event probably proved that these English Chestnuts were probably only unintelligble. Growth was steady and attractive annually, and eventually the spreading Chestnut trees took on a rather poetic stance in the Gardens of the Shire. Beauty however, is a quality which may be much less an asset than first glances may imply.
The first chestnut to fall from the largest of the three trees was not the last. The number grew so large that every squirrel within all the lands of Middle Earth became familiar with the extra-terrestrial skyways leading to the Gardens of the Shire. Frodo was, at first, pleased that the squirrels would haul the entire product away for squirrel purposes. Unfortunately, the squirrels soon discovered that it was a better idea to break the hob-nailed outer covering of each and every chestnut before attempting to store the bounty for Winter consumption. The result being that Frodo's Gardens, his driveway, the roof of his house, and the front yards of all his neighbors were covered in the hob-nailed byproduct of the English Chestnuts for weeks on end. It is during these times that Frodo's neighbors stop speaking to him. Fiona and Mick, the Wonder Dog, play upon Frodo's sympathies by limping or holding a paw in the air, signalling the presence of something which only Frodo can extricate in their behalf.
At this moment, trees one and two are pretty well emptied of their baneful booty. Tree number three is attempting to set a new world record. Frodo's Saturday, assuming that torrential rains pass without consequence, will be devoted to the cleansing of the Shire of all the chestnut byproducts. Despite heavy gloves, and tools designed to minimize bending and stooping, Frodo will be much the worse for wear when this hour arrives on the morrow.
Frodo no longer accepts Christmas gifts which require nutrition. Whatever eats, also passes chestnuts. Somehow, he thinks he now understands why the gallant Howard gave him those chestnuts in the first place.
Someday dear reader, should you motor past a picturesque old cemetery in eastern Tennessee with a lonely chestnut tree standing all alone amid the morning dew, know that the gallant Howard got a proper marker. That is an American Chestnut, probably the only one in the entire bag.