Luster is Dave’s father in “Split Cherry Tree.” He is a simple farmer, quite out of touch with modernity. He does not understand why Dave has to stay behind at school for two hours to work in order to pay for the split cherry tree. He finds it absurd that the school allows its students to loiter about the hills, climbing cherry trees, instead of studying in the classes. There is a lot of work to be done daily on the farm and Luster needs Dave’s help to complete it all. Therefore, he expects Dave to get home early, after school, to help with the work that includes “milking the cows, feeding the farm animals, chopping firewood, and drawing water from the well.” He is a disciplinarian who believes in the adage, “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” thus he ensures that his children heed him for as long as they are under twenty-one years of age. He decides to visit Dave’s school to talk to Professor Herbert about the punishment he has given Dave.
Luster’s visit to Dave’s school opens his eyes to modern education. He gets to understand why Dave and his classmates do scientific field trips to collect all sorts of living things. He spends a whole day in school, attending various lessons and even doing experiments in the science laboratory. At the end of the school day, when Professor Herbert tells Dave and his father that he has decided to waive the one dollar debt, Luster insists that Dave has to take responsibility for the split cherry tree by completing the punishment. He even asks the Professor to allow him to do the work alongside his son, so that together, they can complete the two-hour work in an hour.