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Robbins: Hunting that Guinness-worthy shrub

POSTED: December 30, 2013 1:00 a.m.

When I was about 6 years old, I told my parents of my lifelong ambition.

“I want to be in the Guinness Book of World Records,” I told them.

Unlike my prior lifelong ambition — to be a basset hound — my parents supported this aim.

Their approving tone changed, though, when I told them how I planned to achieve my world record.

“I’m going to break the world record for the fattest twins, like those two guys that ride motorcycles,” I proclaimed proudly.

I had to abandon my lifelong ambition when my parents informed me that I didn’t have a twin brother. Fred wasn’t my twin brother, they revealed, but was rather our labrador retriever.

I’ve always had a place in my dreams for creating a world record, like the McCrary twins (Billy and Benny, combined weight 1,466 pounds) did. Unlike most of the McCrary twins’ competitors, though, my dream has not died.

A number of years ago, I thought I had my best chance yet to have my name in the book. Our old house had what I originally considered a large tree in the backyard. I was later informed that the tree wasn’t actually a tree but a holly shrub or bush.

Holly shrubs usually only grow a few feet in height, but this one was about 40 feet high and about 40 feet wide, with delicious, yummy holly berries all over it.

Like Susanna Bokoyoni, the world’s oldest dwarf (105 years old, 3 feet 4 inches), visions of Guinness stardom started dancing in my head.

I first contacted my local Georgia Forestry Commission ranger, who told me that the state keeps no records on holly bush height.

I then wrote the Guinness people in Connecticut, telling them about what I believed, based on absolutely no knowledge or research, to be the largest holly bush this world has ever known.

I never heard back from them, even after more letters, repeated phone calls and a restraining order.

What’s most disappointing is that without an official Guinness Book designation, all my plans for Big Holly Bush World sort of fell apart. Like other holly bush-themed parks, this one was going to feature roller coasters, a holly bush museum (where a biographical slideshow of my life would be shown), wild animals (I had already lined up two cats, a possum and some lizards), and a concession stand which would specialize in holly bush food and drink — holly bush pies, shakes, pastries and fruit juice.

The visions of celebrity and dollars were indeed intoxicating — or perhaps that was the holly bush wine I made.

Alas, Big Holly Bush World didn’t work out as designed, and I have yet to enter my name along the distinguished likes of Daniel Lyon (world’s lightest brain, and the founder of bell-bottoms), Kare Walkert (the world’s loudest snorer) or Emanuel Zacchini (the outrageous human cannonball).

But there’s always tomorrow, and the possibility of buying another house with a very large bush in the backyard. If you know of one, I’m in the market. This dream, like the world’s oldest dwarf, just won’t die easily.

Len Robbins is editor and publisher of The Clinch County News in Homerville. His column appears weekly.


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