- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Kids who found a message in a jar discovered inside a rotting tree stump have unearthed memories for a former Lincoln city worker.

The jar was found last week by some day campers at Wilderness Park.

“One of the campers came up to me and told me they’d found something in that tree stump,” counselor Britton Mikkelsen told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1rxE9hl ). “The kids were superhappy about it.”

There were a few pennies inside the jar, and there was a note that said: “This tree was repaired June 3, 1983, by the forestry section of the city Park Dept. Take this note to the office.”

So they did, which led them to the story about how the jar got there.

Joe Haag told the newspaper that he’d put the baby food jar inside a hollow of the ailing tree when he worked for the city decades ago. At the time wire mesh and wet concrete were applied to repair trunk splits, and Haag thought he’d have a little fun.

“I thought, ‘Gosh, why don’t I put a bottle in this while I’m concreting this hole up? Maybe someday, someone will find it when I’m poking up daisies,’” he said. He rummaged through his pockets and found just a few pennies to put in the jar with his note.

“I worked for the city,” Haag said, “so it was cheap wages.”

The tree survived until it was cut down last year, leaving a rotting stump for the campers to explore this summer.

“They were just digging it out; they wanted to see how far down it could go,” camp counselor Mikkelsen said. “It’s deep enough now that one of our smaller kids can jump down into it and hide.” The jar Haag had lodged in the trunk fell several feet to below the surface as the wood deteriorated.

Haag said that before he retired 20 years ago, he left another note inside another tree. He doesn’t remember where.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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