A traffic-stopping tree

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
GRANITE QUARRY ó You can stand underneath Mary Davis’ massive cherry tree and look through the pink and white blooms at a clear blue sky and forget anything bad that happened to you earlier in the day.
That is the power of great beauty. It can erase the ugliness of life.
If you look through Post photographer Jon Lakey’s amber lens, the contrast is even sharper and the beauty more spectacular.
The cherry tree has been slowing traffic on U.S. 52 since the blooms started emerging right after the March 1 snowfall. Several passersby have pulled into Davis’ driveway to get a closer view.
“Have you ever seen a more beautiful tree?” asks Davis. “Some people want to know what kind it is.”
Davis says she’s always been told it’s a Yoshino cherry, like the ones that bloom in Washington, D.C., during the Cherry Blossom Festival. The famous trees were a gift to the United States from Japan in 1912.
Her first husband, Ray Edward Cauble, planted the tree in their front yard next to the highway about 30 years ago.
Cauble died at 36, leaving behind a young widow and two sons, Dale and Randall. Mary Davis’ second husband, Edwin Davis, died about eight years ago.
The cherry tree has remained ó a reminder of the man who planted it and a second man who cared for it. For Mary Davis, it is a focal point for memories of her life.
One year on Mother’s Day, for example, a grandson shouted for the family to come look out the front window. There, Davis says, right in front of the cherry tree, were 14 of her neighbor’s cows grazing on the grass.
Today, the cherry tree’s limbs span more than 50 feet and extend right next to U.S. 52.
“Each year, we look forward to seeing it bloom,” Davis says. “It’s a sign of spring.”
And as the blooms begin to fall apart, she says, the petals look like snowflakes floating gently to the ground.
Now 73, Mary Davis waits eagerly for spring every year so she can get out and work in her yard. She plants flowers all around her house and makes sure there’s always food in her bird and hummingbird feeders.
She also keeps fresh water in her two bird baths and throws out old bread and other scraps around the trees for her feathered friends to eat.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.