Mr. Three Trees Category


“Okay Mom, it’s your turn. What have you been up to the past few weeks?” asked my ex-husband, Jim, as he looked around at our two sons to pay attention.

“Time out! Mom’s turn,” our older son, James agreed.

“Show time, Mom!” Jon said, “What’s happening?”

“Nothing much, just work. You know, Mama knew the Matthews way back when this place was a coal company. Mrs. Matthews brought her fried chicken here, and sold it at lunch time to the Tucker workers. When the coal company closed down, Mrs. Matthews continued to serve her famous fried chicken here, and here we are today.”

“My favorite is the chicken pot pie,” added James.

“Nope, it’s the fried chicken for me,” said Jon.

“I guess my favorite is the vegetables, especially the collard greens,” added Jim, “But it’s hard to beat these biscuits and country ham. Now don’t try to change the subject, Di. Tell us what you’ve been doing lately.”

“What’s going on with me is to enjoy breakfast with you guys in my hometown of Tucker – to catch up with y’all.”

“No, no Diane,” said Jim. “We’ve already heard it. I went fishing, James played touch football with his friends and Jon’s watching the girls. You have to do something besides work. Let’s hear it.”

“Yeah Mom,” both sons agreed.

“Well, I did do one thing a little unusual, but I don’t think you’d be interested in stuff like that.”

“Sure we are. We’re interested in you, and we want to hear it,” urged Jim.

“Sure Mom, let’s hear it,” replied both James and Jon.

“Well, one night last week, I went to a healing circle. You’ve heard me speak of my friend, Sherry Henderson, who lives on a horse farm – she held the circle in her pasture.” All three guys were quiet and looked on with curious interest as I continued, “It was really nice. Everybody paid five dollars entry at the gate. As we entered, Sherry saged us, and then we found a place to sit around a campfire. The fire was enclosed with stones…”

“Why did you have to pay five dollars?” asked Jim.

“Oh, the money went to Mr. Three Trees for holding the healing circle…”

“Mr. Three Trees?” asked both boys in unison.

“Yes, Mr. Three Trees is a Native American…”

“How many showed up?” asked a curious Jim.

“Oh, I’d say about twenty, maybe more.”

“How long did it last?”

“Maybe an hour and a half.”

“That’s good money,” remarked Jim.

“It was really worth it…”

“Saged? How do you get saged?” asked James.

“You just stand up straight and hold your arms out, and someone allows the smoke from a bunch of dried sage to encircle you. It just takes about five seconds, then you’re allowed to enter the circle…”

“Hmmmm, never heard of anything like that, and I’ve been around horses and pastures all my life,” mused Jim as he looked around at the boys who returned a puzzled look. “Where’d they dig up Mr. Three Trees?”

“He’s a friend of Sherry’s from out west. I can’t remember the name of his tribe, but I know it’s out west, because we sang about the return of the white buffalo…”

“White buffalo?” Jim seemed a little shocked, “never heard of such a thing.”

“Well, according to legend, when the white buffalo returns, the people are in for good times. It’s a meaningful story and cute little song.”

“How’d it go?” asked Jim.

“I don’t remember.”

“Really? Well, camp songs are fun, getting outside with your friends, that’s always fun,” replied Jim, trying to be supportive.

“Yeah, we sang several songs. It was a nice autumn evening. The sky was clear with a full moon. Mr. Three Trees was something of a philosopher. He said even where we sat told him a lot about each of us.”

“How so?” asked Jim.

“Direction, I sat south of the fire. That means I’m facing the sun for a good time – looking for the lighter side of life. The ones who sat on the north side of the fire have a desire for higher education such as a student or teacher. That’s where Mr. Three Trees stood – in the north.”

“What’d he say about the east and west?” asked Jon.

“I don’t remember. But before we smoked the peace pipe, all women having their period had to back away from the circle by thirty feet.”

Jim, James and Jon stopped eating and put their forks down. I had their undivided attention. Apparently I’d misjudged them. They were interested.

“Peace pipe? Mom, you smoked a peace pipe?” asked my younger son, Jon.

“Yes, the pipe was an incredible piece of artwork with feathers and tiny animal claws hanging off of it. Mr. Three Trees said we smoked a special blend of herbs – seven herbs. He named all seven of them, and correlated each herb to a different part of the human body. I can’t remember the names, they were those biological terms.”

“Cannabis?” asked Jon.

“No, Jon, it was not pot.”

“Mom, you smoked pot! Out there in that pasture! I guarantee it!” insisted Jon as he shook his head in disagreement. “Then, why don’t you remember stuff? You remember everything! Doesn’t she Dad?”

Jim laughed, but refused to agree with Jon as he remained silent on the subject.

“I have never smoked pot in my life, and did not smoke pot that night. Jon, if you heard the words to a song for the first time, would you remember? Would you remember the biological or scientific term for seven plants? Hearing them only one time? And, anyway, I was there in a casual environment, not a classroom.”

“Mom, would you know the difference? If it had been pot?” quietly asked my older son, James.

“Yes, I think so, son.”

“Let’s hear what else Mom has to say,” instructed Jim, “Go, ahead Mom.”

“Well, as I said, it was a beautiful clear night, a night where it is easy to tell the Big Dipper from the Little Dipper…”

“Hash-sheeee!” exclaimed Jon.

“It was not!” I defended myself and Mr. Three Trees, as peace loving James held his hands up to once again call for time-out.

“Why did the women – having their time of the month – have to sit outside the circle?” asked Jim, “I’d hate to say something like that to a woman, especially in these days.”

“The peace pipe has a long tradition of prayer – a lot like the prayer shawl. And a woman having her period has a powerful energy about her. According to Mr. Three Trees, it would have interrupted the energy of the forty years of already gathered prayers.” All three were quiet and wide eyed as they listened for more. “We passed the pipe around – right over left. In other words, we crossed our heart with the pipe as we handed it to the next person. While holding the pipe, each person said aloud what he or she wanted the group and God to hear…”

“What’d you pray for Mom,” asked James, “or was it personal?”

“I asked God to grant peace, love, and happiness to the all children of the world; to bless my two sons. Then I smoked the pipe. I then passed the pipe across my heart to my friend, Sherry. She asked God to bless the Inner Space, a place where all religions could study, and thanked Him for our nation, a country where religious tolerance is the law of the land.”

After taking a deep breath, I continued, “After everyone smoked the pipe…”

“What about the women asked to leave the circle?” asked Jim, “They didn’t get to pray or smoke?”

“Yes, they did after we finished. Mr. Three Trees chanted a song and then walked out to the women and heard their prayers, and then they smoked.”

“They could smoke out there? But not in the circle? That’s absurd.” Jim said, “Today – in the real world – a man would get sued and probably do jail time if he asked a woman to back off from a business meeting, because she was having her monthly.”

“It had something to do with the power of the group, the circle. If she smoked during that time of month, she could destroy the power of the pipe – or something like that. It made sense when he told us. It all boiled down to that time of month as something very powerful, so powerful that it would ground the pipe. Anyway, when we finished smoking, we ate salsa, chips and parched pumpkin seeds out by Sherry’s swimming pool.”

“Sounds like Sherry has a nice place. What’d you have to drink?” asked Jim.

“Apple cider. It was a very enjoyable harvest moon evening.”

The boys were all ears, but remained silent. “There’s nothing like being outside,” Jim decided to break the silence, “That’s why I love being on Lake Lanier on a clear night.”

“Mom, you really have to be careful what you smoke and what you do hanging out in a pasture at night…”
“I’m sure Mom knows what she’s doing, Jon,” interrupted James.

“More coffee?” asked a polite waitress.

“Yes, please,” I replied, thankful to change the subject.

We all began to chatter at the same time, and the healing circle was soon forgotten. We left Matthew’s Cafeteria with hugs and kisses. As I opened my car door, my son, Jon, yelled out across the parking lot, “Mom! How do you get seven herbs out of three trees?”

“His name was Mr. Three Trees!”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right.”

We left Matthews by way of Main Street – each in our own separate car – going our own separate way – until next time.

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