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Parallel parking in Mocksville

It is the most dreaded maneuver in driving, and the Town of Mocksville has decided to make us face our fears. Parallel parking.

The town has reconfigured the parking spaces on Depot Street, doing away with those easy slanted in-and-out spaces and replacing them with the parallel method.

For owners of some new cars, parallel parking is a push of a button. I don’t have one of those. I either scrub my tires on the curb or bump the cars parked nearby.

The town has carved out seven extra parking spaces with its new formula. It also helps accommodate the new farmers market parking. But it does require steady nerves.

Downtown trees in town planters

Mocksville’s downtown has looked like an idyllic Norman Rockwell painting in recent years. The town has invested heavily in cosmetics. That’s why it was with alarm that some have viewed the demolition and replacement of the brick planters that have lined Main Street.

Roots from the trees in the planters — trident maples — had cracked the concrete. Some planters were in danger of collapsing.

The old planters were removed. Construction of the new planters was finished last week as the town crew has anticipated the Christmas season. The crew has often worked late at night to avoid traffic. Using the long ladder fire truck, courageous men strung Christmas lights to outline the belfry of the courthouse Monday night. They strung the four oaks with Christmas lights again over the weekend. The work must be done before the annual Christmas parade.

As part of the effort, the crew has filed the new planters with dirt and planted … more trees — trident maples — like the ones that ruined the old planters.

“Didn’t they learn?” “Are they crazy?”

Those questions have been asked by curious folks who have watched the work.

The town explains it like this: Mocksville happily embraces its “tree city” reputation. The four giant oaks that dominate the square need a supporting cast. The trident maple is about the only tree that can withstand the heat from the street. The old trees were a crucial part of the town’s decorations. Fewer trees have been planted. Planters that had two trees before only have one this time, but the town loved those old trees and wanted more.

The old planters lasted more than 20 years. Replacing them was inevitable.

So, they may be crazy, but they know what they’re doing.

Showy red oaks

Red oaks are putting on a show this week. They are among the last trees still clinging to most of their autumn leaves — burnt red and highly visible along North Carolina highways.

I planted a knee-high red oak on the front lawn of our home in Madison 32 years ago at the birth of my son Paul. The tree is now more than 40 feet tall and still growing. I saw the tree last summer. It must be covered in red leaves now. I’m still proud of that tree but glad I don’t have to rake the leaves.

Planting a birth tree has been a tradition. A red oak for the first born; a gingko for the second; a maple for the third.