Just recently, a long-time resident has become a local celebrity of sorts. With his own Facebook Group, “Oh No I’ve Fallen” boasting over 1,300 members, and even an article about him on NorthJersey.com on Christmas 2015, Buddy is more than just a face on the side of the road; he’s a bona fide local celebrity. Michael Chirichella, The Jefferson Chronicle’s Community and Sports Editor, stopped by Buddy’s home on Berkshire Valley Road to get his take on his celebrity status.
Q: Hi Buddy, I guess I’ll start off by asking you, how did your fame come about?
A: (Buddy) I really couldn’t tell you exactly how it started. I was just minding my own business for many years, trying to be a solid upstanding citizen of Jefferson Township, providing shade and a home for some of our avian residents and showing some foliage during the fall. One day the winds of change came through, and the next thing I knew I was seeing things from a whole new perspective; a different slant, if you like.
Q: Well, your popularity just seemed to come from out of nowhere. Before anyone knew it, your own Facebook group took off to what is it now, over 1,300 members? Plus you had an article in NorthJersey.com a few Christmases ago and, am I understanding it right, a line of Buddy-themed apparel. Do you have any insights into what makes you so popular?
A: You’re right on all three counts. My Facebook group had 1,310 members last time I checked. I did have an article written about me on Christmas 2015 because, after all, you sorta have to have a tree on Christmas, and I was honored to have it be me that year. As for the line of apparel, I’ve seen pictures of a t-shirt with my picture on it. They’ve never gotten one for me, but that’s not a major concern since my friends always seem to be able to find me something appropriate to wear.
As for my popularity, I think a lot of it has to do with accessibility. I never turn away my friends, whether they’re old or new, and I make it a point to always look my best for photos or selfies. I was looking at my page a little while ago and I had no idea so many people have taken pictures with me. People of all ages, too. I think you even took one (pauses) No, you let me be the subject of a birthday card, but it’s all good.
Q: I guess that’s why you’re known as The People’s Tree. You’re a tree for all seasons.
A: The People’s Tree! I like that! can I use that?
Q: It’s already on your page, but sure. Getting back to letting the Chronicle’s readers know more about you, what do you like to do in your spare time?
A: Well I lead a pretty sedentary life, so I have lots of time to pursue my interests. Of course, I enjoy bird-watching and following the weather, but I also enjoy a lot of what most people enjoy like reading, music, and sports.
Q: Wow! I had no idea. Can you share some of your favorites?
A: Of course! Well, as far as books go, I think my favorites are “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest,” and the poetry of Robert Frost, especially “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” That always gives me chills, if you know what I mean. My taste in music is rather eclectic. I enjoy Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” Horst Jankowski’s “A Walk in the Black Forest,” “Autumn Leaves” and pretty much any piece composed for woodwinds.
In sports, I enjoy soccer, especially the English Premier League Nottingham Forest, and the Portland Timbers of MLS. My favorite college teams are Stanford, because they have a lovely tree mascot and Indiana State University. Their teams are called the “Fighting Sycamores.”
Q: Don’t tell me. Your favorite golfer is Tiger Woods.
A: Hey, you catch on quick.
Q: It’s time to close this interview, so do you have any final words for our readers?
A: Just that I really enjoy being a part of the community and I love seeing the smiles on people’s faces when they pose for pictures, especially the kids. I like having people beep their car horns and flash their high beams when they pass me, but never when it might startle or confuse another driver. Of course I’d ask people to feel free to visit, but to take only pictures and memories from our time together.
There’s one last thing. I’d really like it if people would call me by my real name.
Q: I thought Buddy was your real name.
A: That’s a nickname actually, because I’m everybody’s friend. In truth, my first name is Timothy. Never Timmy but mostly Tim.
Q: Alright, Tim it is. By the way, do you have a last name?
A: Of course I do. Everyone does. It’s Burr.
More photos of Buddy:
Click or tap photos to enlarge.