The AARP Fraud Resource Center can help you spot and avoid common scams. Visit today!

Reply
Info Seeker
0
Kudos
1728
Views

Re: The Little Tree

1,728 Views
Message 1 of 2

Greetings, Frances!

 

Jon Du Pre here, anchor/reporter at KTBS 3. I'm inspired by the story and want to re-tell it on TV. Can you call or text me, please?

 

(318) 780-6476 (m)

 

Thank you!

Report Inappropriate Content
0
Kudos
1728
Views
Recognized Social Butterfly
4
Kudos
3531
Views
1
Replies

The Little Tree

3,531 Views
Message 2 of 2

Quilt
cedar
hope
train
ice cycle
possibilities
teacher
Bonus word: restless


He had first noticed the little tree the year his daughter Kayla was born. This was also the year that I-49 had been completed into Shreveport. There was a wide median between the north and south bound lanes in the area just south of his house. At first the Highway Department had left a scraggly mix of cedar and hard woods saplings in this area, but one day they cut everything except for this one little tree. It was this tree that Max used as a sign his exit was approaching.

It was a beautiful little tree—a native Persimmon—and it had a squat, crooked shape reminiscent of something that would be grown in a Japanese garden. In the fall a golden mass of persimmons clung to its branches. In the last month of Kayla’s life, it was heavy with fruit. “It looks like a Christmas tree” Kayla said, “do you think I could have one of the Persimmons to eat.” “In a few weeks” he’d said “they are not ripe yet and would pucker your lips.” The next week Kayla died when she fell from the porch steps and struck her head on the concrete walk. The persimmons rotted and fell from the tree.

This was a black time for Max and he withdrew from life. He quit his job as a teacher and refused to leave the house. Ice cycles formed around his heart and his days were full of darkness. He and his wife did not quarrel—they were both grieving—but she needed someone to communicate with and he refused to talk. Two people existed in an empty house, both of them restless and looking for something—for someone, but only one of them admitted that there was a possibility of moving forward. One day his wife moved out and never returned. When Max closed Kayla door—for she had left it open—he noticed that the little yellow and pink butterfly quilt was gone from her bed. He supposed his wife had taken it.

When the Persimmon tree fruited the next year he thought of his daughter. He was sad when the last one lost its golden glow and fell to the ground. He recalled his daughter’s idea that the tree was a Christmas tree. That night an early frost turned the trees leaves to brown and a strong wind blew the dead leaves off a few days later. Max could see the tree’s beautiful shape. The main trunk curved downward and to the right near the top of the tree. Its multiple small branches seemed to grow to the same length, as if they had been pruned. They formed a delicate cap over the larger trunk.

For reasons he would never understand, Max found himself going into his garage to get the box of Christmas ornaments. Perhaps he would turn Kayla’s little tree into a real Christmas tree. There was one box of golden glass balls and these were the ones he hung on the tree. He chose a time early Sunday morning— a week before Christmas—when there was little traffic on the interstate. Once standing under the tree he realized that it was taller than it seemed from his house and his glass ornaments seemed lost in its lower branches. Later that day he went into Shreveport to a Wal-Mart’s and bought bigger plastic globes. He took a ladder with him when he hung these in the tree.

Looking at the tree lit a small flame of hope in Max’s heart. Slowly he began to move forward with his life. He took a job working at a nursery that was near his house. Pruning and potting trees and shrubs, fertilizing and watching them grow was the way he trained himself to live again. Every year in December he decorated the little tree and removed the decorations in January. Each year the number of decorations he removed began to increase. Soon he was filling two boxes. Someone else was adding to the tree.

One year at Easter he was surprised to see that the tree had a small bunny at its top and dozens of yellow and pink plastic eggs hung from its branches. Max found himself humming while he cleaned house that day. He found himself telling his coworkers at the nursery about the tree. They had all noticed the little tree and said that they wondered why it was being decorated. He told them about Kayla. That night when he returned home his house did not seem so empty.

The little tree became a landmark in the area. People often stopped to add their personal touches. Small American flags on the fourth of July, plastic pumpkins and black cats on Halloween  and purple, gold and green beads on Mardi Gras. Max often waved at the people who were decorating the tree. It gave him a secret pleasure to know that he had begun this ritual. Everyone knew about Kayla and why the tree had become a symbol of her life. They often stopped to talk to Max about it. Someone wrote about the little tree in the Shreveport Journal.

And then one morning the tree was gone. It had been cut and taken away. At first Max could not believe his eyes. Why would anyone do this? He asked everyone who crossed his path that next week and no one had an answer. One man suggested that maybe the Highway Department or the State Police had been concerned that it was causing a traffic hazard. That too many people were slowing down to look. Another person commented that the grasses and wild flowers growing in the median had been recently cut and maybe the little tree had fallen during this spring clean up. It was ironic they said “they plant the wild flowers and then cut them down while they are blooming.”

For a while Max sunk back into his depression and refused to look at the interstate that ran below his house. He found another way to get home. But one day he had to go south to Alexandria to pick up some supplies for his boss and this meant he had to use I-49. On his way home he saw a small tree—one not as pretty and not a Persimmon—that was decorated with shining ice cycles and golden balls. Eventually this tree disappeared also and another small tree was decorated, only to be cut a few months later.

Max planted a small Persimmon tree on the side of the hill in front of his house—on his property near the interstate. This tree he kept as a memorial to Kayla. It thrived and people found their way to it with their personal touches, parking in his front yard.

This story, though fictional, is based on a little decorated tree that I enjoyed for years on my trip up I-49 to Shreveport—until it was cut. I do not know its true story, but it has always intrigued me. Other trees have been decorated over the years and these have been removed. I made a trip in November and once again a new little tree had ice cycle glittering from its branches and a star at its top.

 

Frances

Starimage.jpgSparkel18

Report Inappropriate Content
4
Kudos
3531
Views
1
Replies