A star-spangled stump resides in a yard on Houston Road.
It is 5-foot-10 with an 82-inch waist. It is blue at the trunk, white across its midsection and red at the top.
It is not a redwood, but it does have red wood.
Until four years ago, a chinaberry tree stood guard in the front yard of the house that Jack and Sue Mosley bought in 1985.
As the Mosleys got older, they grew weary of raking all the leaves and berries. So they had it cut down, along with another chinaberry in the backyard.
Yes, a chain saw provided their very own Independence Day. Freedom from sweeping. Freedom from raking.
Ever since Houston Road was widened to five lanes and a chunk of their front yard was taken away, the cars and trucks whiz by faster and closer.
The Mosleys left the tall tree stump for protection, a sentinel to keep a car from skidding down the slope and crashing into the house. Better safe than sorry. There was no desire to have a Dodge Ram in their living room.
When Jack painted the patriotic tree in 2010, he claimed no special artistic talent. He did not follow a red, white and blueprint. He simply gathered a few cans of spray paint and went to work.
It was symmetry in motion. He etched the letters “USA” in the bark.
Oh, say can you tree?
Jack is proud to have served his country in the Army during the Korean War. He is the kind of fellow who flies Old Glory every day. His flag took a beating from some strong winds this past spring, and his health hasn’t allowed him to run a new flag up the pole.
But at least he has the striped stump. It’s not going anywhere.
Jack is 81 years old. He moved to Macon in 1960. He owned M&R Tire Service on Houston Avenue until his doctor told him to give it up or die of a heart attack. He and Sue have been apart just two nights in 56 years of marriage.
He applies a fresh coat of enamel every year. One day last week, he was prepared to brighten it up until the rain spoiled his plans.
Travelers have pulled into the driveway and knocked on the front door. They want to hear the story. The Mosleys almost don’t need a calendar to know when its the Fourth of July, since it often sparks more interest around America’s birthday.
“If it’s a pretty day and they’ve never seen it before, sometimes they will stop,’’ Sue said. “They all want to know ‘What’s with the stump?’”
Contact Ed Grisamore at 744-4275 or firstname.lastname@example.org