April 6, 2014
Calamus, Nebraska to Columbia, Missouri
We bid a fond farewell to the Switzers and hit the road after breakfast Sunday.
The spare landscape of the prairies has grown on us, but by midday, we have left the sand hills and the prairies behind, and reentered a world with rocks and lots of trees.
In fact, by lunchtime we are celebrating trees, as we dine at an Adirondack-style lodge owned by the National Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska City, the birthplace of Arbor Day on April 10, 1872.
Our table is next to a window overlooking Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and the 52-room White House replica home of J. Sterling Morton, the man who originated Arbor Day in America. On the first Arbor Day back in 1872, one million trees were planted in Nebraska.
I can remember getting a tiny seedling tree at school each Arbor Day, although Dick says they never gave kids trees to plant in the Arizona desert. Those little seedlings are still propagated on the campus of the Arbor Day Foundation here, and distributed nation-wide. What percent of those trees ever survive to maturity? None of the seedlings the Ward girls brought home from school and planted in the back yard ever survived more than a month or two.