UNSUSPECTING FRIENDS is the autobiography of a Sweet Gum tree that was born in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula in 1954 where it (he) lived until it (he) was thirteen.
In the spring of 1967 he was chopped down at the hips and hauled to the mill. After being stripped of his bark and sawed into rough boards, he was stacked in a dark corner for nine months waiting to become whatever he was to become.
Most of Sweet Gum went in different directions, but the heart of him, the unusually perceptive part of him, became a picnic table.
Sweet Gum could see and hear and feel and smell, but he could not move or talk. At least not in a way that humans could hear.
As a picnic table, he experienced many wonderful and strange things over the years. He was a witness to and a very real part of human adventures and events too numerous to count, and not all of them pleasant.
The people who sat on Sweet Gum and picnicked on him and carved initials in him and even made love on him were all his friends, his unsuspecting friends.
Now, thirty-six years have passed and Sweet Gum has grown old. Old for a picnic table that is. Soon he will be chopped again, this time to face his forever. He needs to tell his story before they come for him. There isn’t much time.
Old Gum has a tendency these days to drift in and out of the past and present but just ignore it. And if he talks in rhyme … well, you’ll see.
MICHAEL DREW SHAW is a filmmaker, author, syndicated radio personality and entrepreneur. He is the voice of Radicals & Visionaries, stories about American business pioneers who revolutionized the 20th Century and a featured audio book narrator for Amazon/audible.com, the world’s largest provider of online audio.
His documentaries include The Flight of Apollo and Satin Dolls, a new PBS television series about female vocalists from the big band era. Michael’s literary works include Hopkins, On Fire With Ignorance and SLIDER, The Leo Butterburger Story. He lives and works in Sylvania, Ohio.