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East’s tree goes north

By Diana New Georgia’s official Christmas tree will be illuminated today at ceremonies at the state capitol and Barnesville’s Sanders East and his family will be front and center in the audience. The official tree came from property around the old East homeplace near Covington. A private contractor removed the 20 foot red cedar Nov. 28 and it was delicately transported to Atlanta and decorated for today’s event. East, who goes by Sam, has owned and operated the Barnesville Motel since 1979. He has farms in both Jersey and Brooks. He once had a large spread in Covington but has sold it all except for a small tract that is the site of the family home. That is where Jimmie Mosely of the Georgia Building Authority spotted the tree that now adorns the capitol. The tree was harvested with its rootball intact so it can be relocated alive after the holiday. Live harvesting such a large tree is an endeavor under normal circumstances but drought made it much more difficult. Workers cut away lower limbs to gain access to the base of the tree. Water was then pumped into the ground to loosen the roots. A 100-foot crane and a tree digger were required to remove the tree with the roots still attached. Once wrapped and loaded onto a truck, the tree went to the capitol in a caravan led by a state trooper that included the equipment that removed it. The workers filled the hole where the tree had been but East still misses it as he gazes across the homeplace. ’The area looks barren. My tree is gone and it was so beautiful but now it can be enjoyed by everyone that visits the capitol,’ said East who noted others were contacted about providing trees but declined. East is looking forward to seeing his tree adorned in lights and decorations. ’I hope visitors will enjoy the tree as a symbol of Christmas but also be able to appreciate the beautiful tree underneath all the decorations. It’s like Joyce Kilmer wrote, ‘˜Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree,’ he concluded.

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