Willie Whitaker must have his reasons for cutting down the 100-year-old oaks on his property in the Morgan Park neighborhood, but so far he's not letting on.
And his neighbors are pissed.
"This is insane," Carla Winterbottom told the SouthtownStar. "It took 100 years for some of these trees to grow, and now they're gone in 10 minutes."
Winterbottom is the head of Keeping Beverly Green. Unfortunately, there is no Keeping Willie Whitaker Green branch.
"They're my trees. They didn't pay for the trees. My trees are going to be cut," Whitaker told a SouthtownStar reporter before refusing to comment further.
Even the work crew - which counted 175 rings on one stump - was perplexed; the trees were healthy.
Theodore Richardson, who has lived on Longwood Drive across from Whitaker's yard since 1974, said, "He's another Mr. T."
Citing allergies, Mr. T., the Rush Street bouncer-turned-actor, cut down about 100 oak trees from his seven-acre estate in 1987, angering his neighbors in Lake Forest, the SouthtownStar reported.
Mr. Whitaker owns the property.
Wells Fargo Mortgage and I own mine.
The parkway on 108th Street runs along my property on which three mighty Maples were planted decades ago. The Parkway on my property was planted with these Green Giants. The City no longer cares for these mighty gifts of Nature, that toss roots into my foundation and sewer pipes -clog gutters with whirly-bird seeds creating a Planter of the Gutters! - break up the sidewalks & etc. Only God Can Make a Tree! Unless the former City Dept. of Forestry (RIP) planted the woody SOBs back when Kelly was Mayor. I have three such gifts of Nature and long dead City Largess! Thanks So Mucking Fuch! ...
I do not have the steel of spine of Mr. Whitaker and I do enjoy the shade; thus, it falls to my lot - and on my LOT - that I must get in the gutter.
I have an extension ladder ( 24' Aluminum) however the rope that pulls the extension section fouled and broke immediately upon inspection. Therefore, I set the ladder on the deck over back-door ( locked and note attached that Dad is up on the roof in OSHA compliance) and wearing my True Value faux leather working man's gloves, set my gnarled and horny fingers to the rungs and pushed my stumpy haunches up onto the stairway to heaven.
Eight steps up, I carefully eased my blubber up over the gutters and onto the roof, jackknifed my knees in safe balance, pulled the sturdy black bags from my pocket and began the hour long removal of gutter-clutter -whirly-bird plants, grown in honor of the recent wettings by nature, empty Marlboro Lights packs tossed up in celebratory good humor by passing young Americans, Wiffle Balls and the odd dead bird.
This is Nature's bounty and reminders of the Great Chain of Being. The whirly-birds are the seedlings that God in His Wisdom returns to Earth with Hope of Rising. Had I not gotten my lazy ass up there and removed them, I would have the Greenest Roof in Morgan Park - Full Maples on my Roof!
The Wiffle Balls are the cheap toys that we buy little kids, when they are getting the balance that will one day lead them up onto roofs of their own. The Wiffle Balls got smacked and little Jimmy McKenna came home with only his over-sized red plastic bat to the question from the Old Man, recently laid off by the City, 'Hey, where's the ball, Kiddo? Those things don't grow on trees.'
To which the buzz cut red-headed six year old replies, 'Hickey's Roof, Dad.'
'Jesus, Bucko, that gizmo's up there for Good!'
Not so, Brother McKenna, not so. It is now on my kitchen floor and my black cat is chasing it, like Tim Novak* on a corruption story.
It is my property, after all.
Trees remind us that God is found in the details.
Tim Novak - Sun Times Investigative Newsman - the last of dying breed.