Sometimes, my lovely dad used to say, a slinger berry tree is just a slinger berry tree; or is it? If that cryptic reference has you befuddled, you’re not alone. Dad said it was something my granny, his mother, used to say, but I never quite got what that meant and I don’t think he did either. Perhaps, I used to think, it was an alternate to the age-old adage: if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. But a slinger berry tree is not just a slinger berry tree is it? It’s shade-giving and beautiful to look at, but more importantly it’s a healing tree whose leaves are crushed into a medicinal compound that is used to relieve the effects of chicken pox and measles. Nothing is ever just one thing. Life is nuanced and good people are bad, and bad people have redeeming characters. Shakespeare put it perfectly in the oration he wrote for Marc Anthony, who, standing over the murdered body of Julius Caesar famously says: “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ...

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