SARDIS, Ark. (KTHV) -- A tree laced with mystery and memories is now history.
A bittersweet day in Sardis as the beloved shoe tree came down, but as we learned from residents like Connie Hinson, the memories the tree holds will never be forgotten.
"I honestly in all reality cannot believe that this thing is coming down," Hinson said.
The Sardis Shoe Tree holds a very special place in Connie’s heart.
"We got married under the shoe tree April 28 of '06," she said.
Holding a wedding picture of her and her late husband, Connie remembers the day she said "I do" under the "shoe tree".
"Total surprise to me. Didn't know where we were going, thought we were going to the courthouse. I'm all upset and we come up here and pull up and there's Mr. Walters across the road with his bible fixing to marry me and Joe," she recalled.
And Mr. Walters was there for Connie on this day too. Resurrection fern from the tree was given to a few lucky spectators, like Gracen Smith who had come to witness the tree's removal.
"It looks dead and all, but when you stick it on a tree and water it, it will grow back," Smith said.
10-year-old Gracen plans to grow that fern on an oak tree in her backyard.
"I hated it at first, but then my mom told me they're going to make a monument to put there," she said.
A major piece of the tree will be turned into a carving and placed at the city park. For Hinson, it’s a surreal moment.
"Reality is setting in, so it's pretty emotional," Hinson said.
The Arkansas Forestry Commission is going to give the community of Sardis a new tree. It will be planted at the ball field and they will start the tradition all over again.
Also smaller carvings will be made and sold to raise money for a monument to be put in where the original shoe tree stood. That’s at the fork in the road on Sardis Road.
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