Odd job good for bonding

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

Twenty-something, female, a Natchez, native, one semester away from receiving her bachelor&8217;s degree from the University of Hawaii and her current occupation involves cutting up trees.

Kelley Graves is spending what she plans to be her last summer break at home with her parents. She is determined to make the most of it. Her father, Billy Graves, is a tree surgeon and she is spending her workdays right along side of him. Kelley said she feels it is a good opportunity for father/daughter bonding.

&8220;We only get to see her a few times during the year,&8221; Billy said. &8220;It&8217;s been a joy having her here.&8221;

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Even though she doesn&8217;t plan on staying with the landscaping business she will take the experience with her. Graves said the job has taught her responsibility and how to handle different situations. Graves is also confident she will one day be able to do all the landscaping on her own home.

&8220;She is a hard worker,&8221; Billy said. &8220;She works harder than any man out there.&8221;

As much as Kelley Graves enjoy working outside she admits there can be pit falls. She recently had to take a few days off to heal from a bout of poison ivy.

After receiving her bachelor of science in psychology, Graves plans on attending graduate school. She hasn&8217;t set her sights on a specific school, but believes she will most likely roam out-of-state again. After grad school she thinks it might be ideal to be a school counselor, teacher and soccer coach. Going for her doctorate is also a possibility. For now she is keeping an open mind about her future.

&8220;If she keeps working like that she won&8217;t have any problem on doing anything she wants,&8221; Billy said.

Success and landscaping go hand-in-hand for the Graves family. Kelley&8217;s mother Margaret Graves is the public works superintendent of parks and bluffs and city arborist. Margaret&8217;s father and tree surgeon Vernon Straham first introduced Billy to the family tradition. Billy went on to own his own landscaping business for over 20 years and is now a co-owner of Landscape Resources.

Kelley Graves&8217; older brother Tim Graves and sister Steffanie Graves both worked summers with their father when they were younger. Tim Graves is now an engineer with Exxon Mobile and Steffanie Graves is an attorney.

&8220;I feel like I am doing something productive,&8221; said Kelly Graves. &8220;It is a lot of fun.&8221;