Tuesday, October 16, 2007
The building of a new house brought many firsts for my dad. This would be the first time he would own a mobile unit, have to thaw toilet pipes in the winter, clear brush, own a Toyota, build a hand rail for a flight of stairs and many other manual and emotional labors. The first one want to tell you about is the first time my Dad tried to keep a tree alive in our front yard.
Our story begins with dirt because you can’t grow a tree without proper soil and that is exactly what our acre and a half lacks. You see our house was built on granite, which grows sagebrush really well but not much else. However as any determined homeowner and building inspector would do my Dad took his chances and brought home a left over tree from one of his many jobs with the county of Riverside. Now I know what you are thinking my Dad is a tree thief but that’s not it at all the tree was left over and was just going to be thrown away. So in a way my Dad was a tree saver, well until he planted it firmly in the ground in front of our house. I still remember the day he brought it home in the back of his Toyota pickup laying on its side with the leaves dragging on the pavement all the way home. It was a small tree and at this point it desperately needed the two support poles that were holding it straight up or it would have just fallen straight over. So now it was a skinny tree with about ten leaves left and they were all on one side. The tree went in the ground that next weekend and of coarse the side with the leaves was the side my Dad wanted to face the street. The tree never looked better than it did on the day we planted it. The leaves immediately fell off and much to my concern my Dad assured me that it was because fall was coming and the tree was just going through its normal cycle (although it was June). My Dad watered and watered and eventually flooded the front yard trying to revive the tree back to life. He went to the nursery and bought tree fertilizer. He sprayed its bare trunk and branches with miracle grow and bathed the tree in prayer hoping for a miracle. I think I may have even heard him singing to it one day trying to get it to respond to the medication. There was nothing he could do that tree was dead. He spent the next few years replanting and relandscaping our yard I know because I was with him every Saturday all day long (which now I would never give up that time for anything). The yard came together and as the grading began on the front yard it was clear it was time to rip out that old dead tree and try again. So he got a tree and dug a hole and planted the next tree in the same spot hoping that one day if would take root and blossom into something great or even anything at all. The same thing happened to the next tree it lost all of it’s leaves and with all ten leaves on the ground next to it I remember my Dad saying “we just weren’t meant to have a tree son.” The winter came and went and the spring came upon us and I remember the day God gave my Dad his first leaf. We were on our way home from my grandma’s house and when we turned that last corner on the way to my house my Dad spotted it. We were still a good two hundred yards away when my Dad spoke those unforgettable words “I don’t believe it” he said with an uncertain tone “it’s got a leaf” he exclaimed. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about but as he stepped hard on the gas and screeched into the driveway I caught a glimpse of His first leaf. It was beautiful and green and about the size of a quarter. How my Dad saw it from so far away I will never know but he did and it was at that point that my Dad knew his prayers had been heard and he tree was taking root.
To this day the tree stands tall and is growing at a rapid rate. The best part about the only tree in our front yard is that it’s my Dads tree and it’s only for the moment growing stronger everyday. It has now grown so big that it is the very first thing you see when you look at our house. It has thousands of leaves and its braches make incredible noises in the wind. The truth is that I love that tree because it is the first thing I see when I get home and it never fails to remind me of my Dad. A dear family friend gave us a tree to plant in my Dad memory right after he died so the family got together and dug a hole in the back yard and planted it right where everyone could see it. Immediately after we planted it lost all of it’s leaves and turned completely grey. I thought for sure it was a goner but the spring time brought new leaves and much greener branches so it looks like we are going to be ok.