I recently came across a remarkable story from Yarmouth, Maine, involving a 101-year-old man and a 235-year-old tree.

In 1956, Frank Knight was appointed volunteer tree warden for the seacoast town. At the time, there were still hundreds of elm trees lining the streets of the town. It was his misfortune to have to oversee the cutting down of one after another as they fell victim to Dutch Elm Disease.

Except for one.

This one was one of the oldest and largest in New England. The experts told him nothing could be done. Frank didn’t want to let it go. And so he took care of it. Nursed it. Kept it alive for the next half a century.

But now the tree – known by locals as “Herbie” – is too far gone, and will be taken down on January 18.

Frank is philosophical about it.

“Nothing lasts forever,” he said in an article in the Boston Globe.

But Herbie will not be forgotten. A fund-raising effort, called the Herbie Project, is raising money to plant more trees in the town. They’re selling T-Shirts emblazoned with the message “Advice from Herbie: Stand Tall … Remember Your Roots … Enjoy the View.” The wood will be distributed to local craftsmen to make souvenir bowls, cutting boards, and other things.

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