By Dianne Girmus
The Nebraska Signal
Trees are gorgeous works of art and they must never be taken for granted. It is said that trees are man’s best friend, as they give everything they have and don’t expect anything in return—with their most important “gift” being their ability to maintain the natural balance of our air—absorbing carbon dioxide while giving us oxygen to breathe.
Mary L. Uldrich of rural Milligan has lived on farms her entire life and has always had a fond admiration for trees. When she was a young girl, she climbed up into mulberry trees gathering the fresh, purple berries and feasted upon them as she waited for the mailman to arrive. In 1957, she married Ronald Uldrich and moved to the family farm, purchased in 1949 by Anton W. Uldrich, and loved the luxury of their apricot trees and she appreciated the American Elms that provided them with a windbreak.
But one tree in particular grabbed her attention the moment she laid eyes on it—an unusually shaped cottonwood tree like none she had ever seen before. And to this day she still has a fond affection for it.
This particular tree stands east of her home at 1015 Road 23, parallel to that “back road” into Milligan—standing in a stately line of approximately a dozen other huge cottonwood trees that have withstood the mighty winds, torrential rains, droughts and other major weather problems. If only they could share their stories. Uldrich’s tree stands, gallantly, apart from the others—the trunk splitting at the bottom, growing in two sections, one upright like normal and the other grew into an arch near the ground.
Uldrich said, “It is a specially-shaped cottonwood tree and I had never seen one of them grow into such an exquisite design before!”