“We’ve been talking about this for 10 years,” Thomason said. “I couldn’t bear the thought of cutting down these trees. I couldn’t come to terms with it.”
But she and her husband, Wayne, knew the reality of the situation and the dangers of having thousands of pounds hovering above their rooftop. A strong storm could topple one of the trees and crush their home, possibly taking their lives.
“I guess there comes a time when you have to face the real world,” Thomason said.
The 70-year-old woman looked up high in the pecan tree where a man harnessed to the tree cut through big round tree limbs along the main trunk of the tree with his chainsaw.
“We’ve had some of the best times under those trees,” Thomason said. “There are a lot of memories here.”
There were family reunions, picnics and cookouts. Then there were anniversaries, Thanksgiving get-togethers, Christmases, Easter egg hunts and the birthday parties - so many birthdays with three children running around, hiding behind the big trunks of the trees during a late evening game of hide-and-seek.
“I can see every bit of it in my mind,” Thomason said. “They had a rope swing their daddy fixed for them. We had so much enjoyment watching them swing on that rope swing.”
Her two sons, Tim and Chris Thomason, and daughter, Melissa “Lisa” Bricker are now adults and living their own lives, but Thomason and her husband remain on the family farm next to the Pine Harbor Golf Course under the 100-foot-tall pecan trees that slowly disappeared before their eyes, piece-by-piece, section-by-section.
“This tree right here had the most pecans,” Thomason said. “They were small, narrow pecans, but they were the best tasting fruits.”
She said they don’t gather pecans much anymore. The birds and squirrels pick them off the trees before the nuts are ripe, and it is a chore for the elderly couple to pick up tree branches that fall from the trees onto the ground.
Wayne said his father bought the farm in 1945. The homestead was originally 88 acres before it was divided up among the children.
“When we moved here in 1945, this was all cleared fields,” he said. “We had a tater house, a chicken house and a smokehouse. We lived off this farm.”
The family gardened and raised farm animals.
Wayne looked up at the logger perched high in the tree as the man cut limb after limb.
“I couldn’t do that,” Wayne said. “I’m scared of heights.”
Thomason said she and her husband, who will celebrate 53 years of marriage in October, moved back to the farm in 1968 to help care for Wayne’s father.
“Paw Paw,” as he was known, lived with the couple for 12 years before they were forced to move him into a nursing home.
It was sad to see the trees go, but it was necessary, the couple said.
An average person couldn’t even reach halfway around the trunk of the old pecan trees, which were probably about 100-years-old.
“I know they are at least 75 years-plus,” Thomason said. “In 1945, when Wayne’s dad bought the property, these trees were producing pecans.”
Although the Thomason’s are saddened that one tree is gone and the other doesn’t have much longer to live, the couple still has memories of the times spent with family and friends underneath the old pecan trees.
“We have really been blessed here,” Thomason said.