Once upon a time, in a small village at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, there lived a blue spruce named Bruce. Bruce lived in the corner of a yard owned by a very nice family who found the tree to be very lovely and also a good place to hide their lawn mower from the view of passers by and from the rain and snow. Bruce grew every year getting taller and taller. But at the same time he was getting fatter and fatter and before long he had outgrown the little yard. One day Bruce saw Mr. Macias the tree man coming with all of his tree cutting tools and Bruce knew it was time. All trees know that someday they will become either pencils, popsicle sticks, 2x4s or firewood. Bruce loved the family so much that his only hope was that he become firewood that the family use some day as they were making memories together roasting s’mores.
Bruce’s big trunk was chopped up and hauled off by Pastor Michael who would use it to heat his family’s home and this made Bruce very proud. Many of Bruce’s little limbs were chopped up and stacked neatly in the family’s yard. Bruce’s wishes had come true…he had not been turned into pencils, or popsicle sticks or 2x4s…he had become firewood for the family to use when making memories together roasting s’mores!
The little pile of Bruce sat in the back yard waiting for the day he would be used by the family making memories together roasting s’mores. He sat through the cold winters, the wet springs, the blazing hot summers and would get covered in leaves in the fall. He waited and waited and waited. Cold. Wet. Hot. Leaves. Cold. Wet. Hot. Leaves. Cold. One cold winter day, the family moved into a house with wheels and left!
Bruce was very sad that winter. He was lonely and missed the family. But in the summer they returned and they came out to the little pile of Bruce. Bruce was so excited that today might be his day to help the family make memories together roasting s’mores. But instead of Bruce being taken away, the man brought some other wood and stacked it on Bruce. “Hi, I’m Kyle from Ohiopyle,” said some of the logs. “And I’m Winston from Kinston” said the others.
Bruce hesitated a moment but not wanting to be rude he gathered his thoughts and said, “I’m Bruce the Colorado blue spruce….welcome to the family’s yard!” As the wood all got to know each other Kyle and Winston began to tell Bruce all about the time when the family lived in the house with wheels. “Yeah, we traveled all over the country,” Winston explained. Kyle continued, “We were in mountains, and on beaches. In hot weather and cold weather. In quiet forests and in big cities. It was a lot of fun.” Indeed it did sound like fun. Bruce hoped that one day he too could travel with the family and that perhaps, on one of the trips, he would be used by the family to make memories together roasting s’mores.
Sure enough, one day the man came out and picked up Bruce, Kyle and Winston and loaded them into the house with wheels. Oh, how the 3 piles of wood were excited for the adventures that lay ahead with the family in their rolling house. They visited rivers and rock arches and big canyons but only a couple fires were had where the family made memories together roasting s’mores and for those they used pieces of Spence the picket fence. The trip was pretty short but Bruce still had a blast traveling with the family.
Back in the yard the three piles became closer and closer friends and talked every day about when they might get to travel again or when they might get to help the family make memories together roasting s’mores. Then one day, the man loaded them all back into the house with wheels and, just like that, they were on another adventure. They visited Mount Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Lewis and Clark Caverns, Glacier National Park and even went to Banff National Park in Canada. While the family did make memories together roasting s’mores, neither Kyle, nor Winston nor Bruce were ever selected.
“Maybe,” said Bruce, “they are saving us for a very special memory. A really BIG memory that all three of us piles can be part of!!” The 3 piles of wood agreed this must be the reason and they went back to being content traveling piles of wood.
One day after a long time in the house with wheels the house came to a stop. “You never know guys,” Bruce said to Winston and Kyle, “this might be the campground of the BIG memory!!” When the door opened the piles of wood saw lots of buildings and fences and cars and people…this did not look like a typical campground. The three piles saw the family standing there with their dog (who, by the way, had peed many times on Bruce and Kyle and Winston in an effort to show her love and adoration of the 3 piles). The man came over with another man all dressed in black. The man dressed in black had “CBP” printed on his bullet proof vest and he was packin’ heat!! This was definitely a different kind of campground. Bruce whispered, “this has GOT to be the big memory….never has there been such pomp and circumstance when making memories together roasting s’mores.” The man and Mr. CBP loaded all of Kyle and all of Winston and all of Bruce onto a royal chariot and left behind what was left of Spence and Bud the 2×4 stud. As the man said goodbye to Mr. CBP, the three piles of wood were so proud to be on the royal chariot pulled by the man. The man took them into a building where he showed a little blue book to a man behind the counter. “Wow….this is super official!” said Bruce. The man pulled the royal chariot out of the building and they bumped along the rocky ground to a little building. The man unloaded Kyle, he unloaded Winston and he unloaded Bruce into a big pile. “This is it guys….it’s really happening,” Bruce said to his friends. The man stepped back a few steps and pulled out his camera. The three piles of wood smiled their best smiles as the man snapped a picture.
But then something unexpected happened. A tear rolled down the man’s cheek. He lifted his hand and gave a little wave goodbye. Then he turned around and pulling the empty royal chariot behind him he walked off into the distance toward the big sign that said:
Welcome to the USA. Travelers must declare all plants, fruits, vegetables and FIREWOOD
The moral of the story: Use it, or lose it.
Epilogue: Actually, the signs do not mention firewood but the CBP officer tried to shame us by reminding us that firewood has been disallowed to enter the US since 2009…”for 8 years!” Sorry that I don’t keep up on current customs and border patrol contraband items! And I know it is bad that I transport firewood around even within the US….my bad. Part of the reason we kept Kyle and Winston around so long was because they were such lousy burners. I think they were half petrified. They would just slowly smolder…never really making any flames. And as for Bruce….I think we did get to use a couple pieces of him back in our popup camping days. So all is not lost. He did get a chance to help our family make memories together roasting s’mores. Thanks Bruce!!