Johnson City resident Lawrence Ford had never seen anything like the knob before, and that’s saying something considering that the 88-year-old World War II veteran has been to the South Pacific, above the Arctic Circle and toured Route 66 on a Harley.
“It’s a male tree, there’s no doubt about that,” Ford said. “I’ve mowed around that tree for a long time, and never did I notice that thing. But it’s there, plain as the nose on your face.”
The tree’s growth is so graphic that the the Johnson City Press, which first reported the story, censored a photo of Ford standing with the wooden marvel.
Despite everything he’s seen at home and abroad, Ford is still quite impressed with what’s growing out in his yard. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,” Ford said. “It just grew like that. I’ve never heard tell of anything like this before -- have you?”
Even though Ford and his nephew had a good laugh about Johnson City's most famous johnson, he hasn’t mentioned it to his wife Cleo.
“I haven’t showed it to her,” Ford said. “I don’t think it would really be appropriate for a woman to see.”
Reaction to the story has been mixed at the paper.
“To say this story is a laughingstock among the newsroom is The Biggest Understatement of 2013,” said a JCP staffer. “The managing editor was on vacation that week and was none too pleased when he came back and saw the ‘story,’ but nothing will happen. Meanwhile, we’ve been singing ‘Oh, Penis Tree, Oh Penis Tree, how lovely is your penis’ in the newsroom since Christmas.”