Man's “Can-Do” Attitude Shows in Yard Decor

One man's trash is another's treasure

Louis Torres has a can-do attitude.

Just one glance at his yard, which is adorned with thousands of beer cans -- some strung together, others crafted into ornaments -- provides proof. 

Torres began putting together his beer-can canopy a couple of years ago. He and his buddies share an affinity for Miller Lite and Milwaukee's Best Light, and when the cans began to pile up, Torres went to work.

He wrapped the end of a long, thin wire around a weight, tossed it over one of the limbs of a hackberry tree in his back yard, and started stringing cans onto it. When the string was about 30 feet long, he tied it off to his chain-link fence.

Torres was so impressed with the result that he did it again, and again. The result is head-turning exhibit in a mostly industrial neighborhood west of downtown.

"Some days there's four or five cars parked out there" on Currie Street, Torres said. "People come up and take pictures. They call it the beer tree."

"Beer trees" is more accurate. More than 75 brilliant strings sweep from various heights. Most start in the hackberries and tall cedars. Some loop from the edge of the stone house's warped roof.

Torres said he was about a year into his creation when his daughter, Deann Ledesma, showed him how to slit the cans' sides, then squash them to create an ornament.

When the wind blows, the ornaments spin.

Jeremy Conley, a courier for a company in Dallas, stumbled onto the house Monday when making a delivery in the area. He rolled down his window and stared at the display.

"It's amazing," Conley said.

Another visitor, Jacky Miller, saw the house a few months ago and had to show it to his friend, Jack Hooten. The two brought a 12-pack of Miller Lite to share with Torres.

Torres didn't know either of the men, but friendships form fast over cold beer. He said they're not the first strangers to bring him brews.

"Some days I'll get home and find 12-packs sitting just inside the gate," Torres said.

The cans not only serve as yard art; they're a savings account of sorts.

"If I'm short of money and need cigarettes or beer, I'll pull down a string and cash it in," Torres said.

Torres said as long as the cans keep coming, he'll keep creating.

"Thanks for the beer," he told Miller and Hooten as they climbed back into a pickup. "I will put 'em up."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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