Now just to show you what a nice guy I can be, I'm inviting you to an engagement party tonight at Fred's Hickory Inn.
Why a hickory tree?
The chief timber of indigenous growth is padouk (Pterocarpus dalbergioides) used for buildings, boats, furniture, fine joinery and all purposes to which teak, mahogany, hickory, oak and ash are applied.
From the extreme south most of the merchantable timber had been cut, but immediately north of this there were still vast quantities of valuable long-leaf pine; in the marshes of the Delta was much cypress, the cotton-wood was nearly exhausted, and the gum was being used as a substitute for it; and on the rich upland soil were oak and red gum, also cotton-wood, hickory and maple.
All of the species of pine and of magnolia, and nearly all of the species of oak, of hickory and of spruce, indigenous to the United States, are found in North Carolina.
But mixed with the oak and chestnut or higher up are considerable hickory, birch and maple; farther up the mountain sides are some hemlock and white pine; and on the swamp lands of the Coastal Plain are much cypress and some cedar, and on the Coastal Plain south of the Neuse there is much long-leaf pine from which resin is obtained.
The white oak is the most common, but there are thirteen other varieties of oak, six of hickory, five of ash, five of poplar, five of pine, three of elm, three of birch, two of locust and two of cherry.
Loblolly pine, cypress, oaks, hickory, ash, pecan, maple, beech and a few other deciduous trees are interspersed among both the long-leaf and the short-leaf pines, and the proportion of deciduous trees increases to the westward.
Outside of these general areas, forest products are of relatively little value, the exceptions being the dense growths, in certain restricted areas, of live-oak, which is in demand for ship timbers; and scattering patches of hickory, which is requisite for certain manufactures.
The maple, walnut, oak, ash, beech, elm, gum, sycamore, hickory and poplar, found on the southern slope of the Osage highlands, on the uplands about the source of the highlands and in the central portions of the Red river valley, are valuable for cabinet woods.
Among the more common trees are several species of oak, pine, hickory, gums and maple, and the chestnut, the poplar, the beech, the cypress and the red cedar; the merchantable pine has been cut, but the chestnut and other hard woods of West Maryland are still a product of considerable value.
Extensive forest areas still remain both in the east and the west, In the east oak, maple, beech, chestnut, elm, tulip-tree (locally " yellow poplar "), walnut, pine and cedar trees are the most numerous; in the west the forests are composed largely of cypress, ash, oak, hickory, chestnut, walnut, beech, tulip-tree, gum and sycamore trees.
We also went nutting, and I helped them open the chestnut burrs and break the shells of hickory-nuts and walnuts--the big, sweet walnuts!
There are poplar and cedar and pine and oak and ash and hickory and maple trees.
One day, when my axe had come off and I had cut a green hickory for a wedge, driving it with a stone, and had placed the whole to soak in a pond-hole in order to swell the wood, I saw a striped snake run into the water, and he lay on the bottom, apparently without inconvenience, as long as I stayed there, or more than a quarter of an hour; perhaps because he had not yet fairly come out of the torpid state.
As the sparrow had its trill, sitting on the hickory before my door, so had I my chuckle or suppressed warble which he might hear out of my nest.
He used to make a cable for his anchor of strips of hickory bark tied together.
As for the axe, I was advised to get the village blacksmith to "jump" it; but I jumped him, and, putting a hickory helve from the woods into it, made it do.
Green hickory finely split makes the woodchopper's kindlings, when he has a camp in the woods.