This was posted on Facebook by my niece Amanda who is a senior at Auburn. It is making the rounds of the students FB pages:
“And the toilet paper, the trunk, the branches and leaves, I’ll bring it all down with poisoned disease. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, all the fans down in Auburn will all cry BOO-HOO! That’s a noise,” grinned “Al” from Dadeville, “That I simply must hear!” So he paused. And the Grinch called “Al” put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the Plains. It started in low. Then it started to grow… But the sound wasn’t sad! Why, this sound sounded merry! It couldn’t be so! But it WAS merry! VERY! He stared down at Auburn! “Al” popped his eyes! Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise! Every Tiger down in Auburn, the tall and the small, were still celebrating without any trees at all! He HADN’T stopped the Auburn Spirit from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! And the Grinch called “Al” stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so? It came without paper or shakers or trees, it came without all these things indeed. And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore. Then “Al” the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Auburn’s spirit” he thought, “means a bit more!” And what happened then…? Well…in Auburn they say that “Al” the Grinch’s small heart hopefully grew three sizes that day, after of course, they locked him away!”
Its pretty funny how accurate this is. I went to see the trees last night, it just felt like the right thing to do. The mood wasn’t nearly as somber as I thought it’d be. People were rolling the trees, I guess because who knows if we’ll be able to do it much longer. Some people brought the trees flowers and get well notes written on what else but toilet paper. A few students held up signs to the passing traffic that said “Honk if you love this tree!” and cars were honking away. It was cute and the mood was lighthearted. I guess because we, the Auburn Family, know that no matter what happens the Auburn spirit will live on in some form or another even if our beloved trees don’t make it. A dad was there with his little boy. The kid couldn’t have been older than 2 and a half or 3 and he didn’t really know what was going on but I think the dad made the right call. Pretty soon there’s going to be kids around who’ve never even seen the gorgeous 130 year old oaks at Toomer’s. That kid is one of the lucky ones. So am I. I’m glad I got to be part of such a fun tradition and I look forward to the experiences I’ll have thanks to the other wonderful Auburn Family traditions. Nations rise and fall but Family is forever.
For some reason, the most irritating fans of a college team are not alumni nor have ever attended that college. Recently a disgruntled fan of the college in T-town decided to get even the weekend after the Iron Bowl and put 55 times the normal dose of Spike 80DF, also known as tebuthiuron a tree killer on the 130 year old oaks.
I’m not sure how the custom started in 1962 but the live oaks at Toomer’s Corner get rolled after every Auburn football victory. At some point over the years the rolling starts at Toomer’s Corner and extends a block back toward school. I remember as a student that if you needed toilet paper during football season, you had a hard time finding it. I can imagine how many rolls are used in today’s rolling. It has to be in the tens of thousands.
Some Bama fans are pointing out that the trees were dying anyway. Yes the historical trees were sick and slowly dying but still had several years of life left. The real issue is that the herbicide will last in the ground for up to seven years, so nothing can be replanted there for a long time. There is a danger of ground water contamination that affect water sources for miles. There is concern that the much older live oak trees and other species of trees between Toomers Corner and Samford Hall have been poisoned also, or will be poisoned through root contact with the two at Toomers. If you’ve ever put herbicide on a plant and have one nearby die you know what I’m talking about.
Several years ago due to health issues, the Forestry Department at Auburn started collecting acorns to grow replacement trees for when the time came. A couple of sore losers, most recently in 2010 a Georgia fan and in 1993 a Bama fan haven’t helped the trees by setting fire to the toilet paper. The extra seedlings were offered to the public only with a certificate of authenticity as a forestry scholarship fund raiser. When I ordered my seedling #141756 six years ago from the Forestry Department, I didn’t think that a live oak would make it this far north from the coast. They prefer winters where temperatures do not dip lower than 10 degrees which does occur in NW Alabama. So I really didn’t expect it to live, but it was for a good cause.
I understand the remaining Toomer Corner baby oaks are by lottery. I want to caution those of you in north Alabama that we are a little far north in their growing range. Also the clay ground is not good for them. Mine I started in a raised bed with good quality soil. See my post on Bradford Pears not–live oaks for how I accidentally made mine grow in this part of the state. Click on the link for ordering information: Toomers seedlings
Tigers Rags is offering a T-shirt called “We Will Roll Forever / AU Family Roots Run Deep” Part of the proceeds go to the treatment or replacement of the live oaks at Toomers Corner. Another link is the the AU Office of Communications and Marketing. It has information on helping.
You tube video “What Auburn is about“