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Paulo had a cane and walked slowly. As I exited the doors he simply stared at me. I could tell he wanted to speak with me. His eyes told me to come over to him and then his arm waived me over. He had as of yet to speak with his mouth. A calm-looking man of few words who paced himself in the few steps he took as I walked over to him.

Paulo, of Italian heritage with a U.S. Army cap picked up his cane and pointed it at an aged tree leaning at a 15 degree angle to one side.

“Rats eat this tree, ” he said to me.

“Hi, sir! Ok. Let me see. Show me.”

“Look!” He pointed with his cane again as we approached the tree stepping off the asphalt driveway. We ambled into the thicket of dead leaves and dry branches.

Again, he lifted his cane, this time poking the tree in its rotten belly. “Rats have eaten it up and it will fall.” He now pointed to the preschool labeled 25 Valley Drive. I asked him if he knew who I was. He said nothing to that.

“This tree will fall on the school. Little children play there. They will get hurt, ” he said.

“They would die if it fell,” I said. The dry, weathered tree leaned toward the school. I then kicked its belly bark and crumbles fell off. I thought of termites but he was bent on calling it ‘rats.’

This man, Paulo Penella, who introduced himself as ‘Paul,’ warned the pre-school director and was ignored, he says. He warned the U.S. Postal office on which the property the tree stands and nothing has come of it. No action has been taking.

…and that is the way the cookie crumbles…

“I’ll take a picture, sir, and I’ll write about it on the internet. I’ll release this. Get in the picture. You probably just saved the lives of little children.”

He stayed quiet with his hand firmly on his cane. A quiet man. He lives near the Valley Drive Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S. Postal Service Office.

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