Holding Out Hope: Auburn’s Poisoned Toomer’s Corner Trees May Survive
When we were first exposed to the bizarre, depressing tale of Alabama fanatic Harvey Updyke and the case of the poisoned trees at Toomer's Corner, a traditional gathering place for Auburn fans, it was assumed the threes were as good as dead. The outrage the story generated was about more than that - about taking a rivalry too far, not respecting the traditions of your fellow man - but at the center of it all were those iconic trees that suddenly didn't have much longer.
Well, it's possible they still don't. But it's also possible that, while the trees have certainly seen better days, they also might be around for a few more. In addition to the emergency removal of poisoned dirt around the trees after the vandalism came to light, the trees receive water every two days and are currently barricaded for further protection. And it just might be working. While the trees are visibly in rough shape, they're still standing, and Auburn horticulturist Gary Keever says they might stay that way:
"I don't want to give a sense of false hope, but we're not ready to say they're definitely not going to make it."
While that doesn't inspire the greatest confidence in the world, it's not all doom and gloom, either. In fact, the trees' health might even be stable enough that fans will be able to give the trees their traditional decoration of toilet paper after Auburn victories. (There will need to be a new process for the removal of the paper, though, so as not to mess with the trees' now-delicate health.)
Of course, a doom-and-gloom scenario is still possible. The AP's report on the subject allows that "neither tree should look so bad this time of year," and just as there's a chance the trees will survive and a chance they'll be in good enough shape to roll, there's also a chance they won't. Additionally, some of the plants next to the trees are showing effects of the poisoning as well.
But any chance at all the trees - and more than that, the fan tradition - will survive the actions of a crazed fan is good news. And this isn't even the first good news the emerge from this saga - if you'll remember, a group of Alabama fans banded together and raised $27,000 to help with the cost of trying to save the trees. For what began as a sad story of someone crossing the lines of common decency, this is surprisingly feel-good stuff.
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