I grew up on the south side of Chicago. My next-door neighbor had the oldest, tallest silver maple that sprawled over our front yard as well, so of course I considered it my tree. Throughout my childhood I played under that tree, cried under that tree, and received my first bird poop on my head under that tree. My neighbor said she would never cut that tree down. The maple towered over all the small bungalows; you could see it half a mile away! I remember proudly boasting to fellow trick-or-treaters that the tall tree was my tree. It was shaped like a giant Fred Flintstone (my favorite cartoon), and became known as the "Fred Flintstone tree" to all the neighborhood kids. That tree provided shade, leaves to rake, and seeds to collect, until my elderly friend died. The new neighbors immediately had it cut down, and I mourn that loss to this day. Anytime I see a perfectly healthy, gorgeous tree destroyed for no apparent good reason I not only mourn that tree, but my old tree friend from my childhood. The tree provided strong branches for the children and homes for wildlife.