Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Toomer's Trees

Our Grand Oaks sitting on Toomer's Corner.

The events of last week have left me sad and depressed. As all of you know, a man allegedly put 600 times the lethal dose of Tiburon, a defoliant, on the two Auburn oaks at Toomer’s Corner. Of course the news jumped on the fact that the man professed to be an Alabama fan and that he allegedly admitted on a national radio show to doing this heinous act a week after the Iron Bowl. I have seen accusations flying on the internet – Auburn and Alabama fans quick to point fingers at each other for all kinds of bad things. I say ENOUGH!

Toomer's Drugstore, an Auburn tradition (best lemonade in the world) which sits opposite to the oaks.

I cannot look at my dear friends, Jean and Stephanie, and accuse them of this reprehensible act just because they are Alabama fans. They are wonderful, loving people who do not have one ounce of malice in them, certainly not to harm something! The same goes for all Alabama fans, except for this one troubled man. I have repeatedly said that this act is NOT representative of the Alabama fans that I know. We cannot blame everyone who wears crimson and houndstooth. No acts of retribution will save our trees.

My sadness comes from my memories of these tall oaks. Sitting under them, studying, talking to friends and then watching my son do all the same things. Our trees are a tradition to the Auburn family and this act is like killing two of our family members. They are over 130 years old and have done no harm to anyone. I keep asking how someone could do this. They still stand proud and strong but for how long? Maybe they will be saved but there is little hope. We, as a family, cling to that hope.

My son in his cap and gown under the Toomer's oaks.

Alabama and Auburn have come together to try and provide some way to save our trees. In the spirit of the good people of this state, we must all join together against such despicable acts – we are all the same except for the colors we wear. We must not let one bad person taint our grand rivalry and reduce it to a war. We will not allow this! Auburn has set up a fund at www.ocm.auburn.edu/news/oaks_fund.html. Alabama has also set up a fund at www.facebook.com/TideforToomer’s. If you wish to speak out against such a crime and help us save our oaks, please donate something. We may not be able to save them but we will certainly give it an Auburn try.

I say from the bottom of my heart ROLL TIDE AND WAR EAGLE!!!!!

"Tiger" flying before an Auburn game. One of our traditions.

By Cheryl Crisona, AU Graduate 1980


  1. I didn't grow up in this state and could not believe how passionate folks were about football when I moved here in 1980. I managed to stay neutral until my son went to Auburn and then well... I had to take sides.

    I'm saddened too about this. And there's not much more I can say because you've already said it so eloquently.


  2. Cheryl, how eloquently you have shared your thoughts with us. I am sorry that this has happen to your landmark.

  3. I really hope they throw that guy under the jail. I know they won't, because they're "just trees," but what a cruel, despicable, evil act. How dare someone think they can destroy trees that old and magnificent, no matter where they stand.

    That man is a sick individual. I'd be surprised if he even went to college, no matter his claims to be a Tide fan. And if he did go, then he sure didn't learn anything.

    Hugs, Cheryl.

  4. Well said, Cheryl. I don't know if I am malice free but I would certainly never have thought of such a thing, let alone done it.

    I feel like am right in the middle of a huge "He did, She did" seventh grade style. Or "They did" more like. "They" poisoned the trees. "They" put a Cam Newton jersey on Coach Bryant's statue. The fact is, "they" didn't do anything. One is by leaps and bounds and a million jumps worse than the other but neither should have happened. There are bad fans everywhere who make it hard on the rest of us.

    I hope the trees can be saved, Cheryl. And I do believe there will be jail time over this. He might be safer inside than out.

  5. This is a terrible debaucle, no question. It's one thing to spray paint a senior's graduation year on the end of my driveway during Junior/Senior wars. Which by the way, will never come off! (Take that Penbritch Scholars!) But to purposefully and willfully plant poison under the ground, beneathe an LIVING icon... why that's imcomprehensable.

    Jean is right. Good people are trying to right the wrong of one or two persons. Good people have the power to make good things happen. Good people rebuild after a storm or earthquake or fires have taken away their homes/businesses. Good people are the norm in this world. We have to believe that this may be an event that binds both schools, forever linking them together in a positive spirit. Why? Because that is what good people do. They band together and help each other, even if they don't agree. After all, football is a just a sport. (I know that may not be the collective thought in most of our state.) But I think people everywhere will agree. People ARE what matters.

    Auburn is a product of the people who make it great. Just like Alabama is. Just like any other college is. People make a place unique and memorable. If, and this saddens me greatly, If Auburn's beloved trees should die. Money will be saved to plant new trees, trees that will shelter new generations, trees that will envelope new traditions, trees that will far outshine and be far more loved by the people.

    Auburn has risen to this difficult task. Auburn can rebuild. And just maybe... just maybe Alabama students will help lead the way.

    My .02. Mother of an Auburn student.

  6. PM, yes we are all saddened by this. I still cannot believe someone would do this.

    Thanks Stephanie. It would be like someone destroyed Denny Chimes, an irreplaceable landmark.

    Thanks Lynn. Yes, I think he will, if convicted, spend some time in jail. The current charge carries a 1-10 year sentence but they are looking at other charges too. I get so upset when I think of what this one man did.

    You are right Jean. That is why I felt I should say something. This pointing fingers at each other over some stupid people who do stupid things is not how we should all act. I don't blame anyone but the person or persons (they are looking at this man's landlord about it now) responsible. And yes, as far as I am concerned, you are malice-free.

    Thanks Kathy. Yes, Auburn and Alabama are great because of their people. I am so grateful that Alabama and Auburn fans have united to take on this task. It does mean a lot!

  7. Great post, Cheryl. I was shocked to hear about the poisoning. I have graduation photos similar to your son's, and so does my husband. The trees have been such an integral part of the Auburn experience for so long, it's hard to imagine the campus without them.

    That said, it has been so heartening to see both the Auburn family AND the Bama nation coming together to raise money to do whatever is possible to save Toomer's oaks. I think that shows this was the hateful act of one very unstable man, not the product of an entire group of people. Hopefully the trees can be saved.

    Gret, AU Grad 2008

  8. Gretchen, I agree. Perhaps this will help make the southern bond between both schools stronger.