Some time ago, a family decided to plant some evergreens among the abundant bur oaks in Birds Hill.
The local boy scouts were selling seedlings no bigger than an index finger, so the parents bought 25 and went about preparing an area along their fence to give the seedlings their start.
That summer was not kind to the seedlings. Five were lost in rain-saturated ground, five were lost. The following summer, the trees should have been knee high but were still quite spindly and short. So short that Grandpa didn’t even notice when he roto-tilled almost half of them.
Some landscaping created a drainage problem that rotted away another three of the trees, leaving just 10.
The family decided to dig up as many as they could in order to save them. Three were moved to the front yard where they grew strong. Two more were moved closer to the house in the back yard and soon they, too, began to thrive.
"What’s wrong with that tree?" some ask now, pointing to one of the remaining evergreens.
"That tree? Oh, that’s a special tree," I reply.
You see, we didn’t think that tree would make it. It struggled to survive those first few years.
And then, just when things were looking up, our daughter drove over it — right over it — with the riding mower.
That tree bent all the way to the ground but it didn’t break. Funniest thing you ever saw — a tree with no branches all up one side.
As it started to grow and thrive, the darned thing grew so tall that our flagpole is now too short and the flag keeps getting caught up in that tree’s branches. Then it grew so wide that we can’t see the flower bed tbehind it anymore.
Yes, that tree; it’s shown us that sometimes you just have to bend and sometimes you aren’t the prettiest but that doesn’t mean you need to be cut down.
It’s given us a great family memory that we can pass on and it’s shown us that having something beautiful means nothing if you don’t get around your obstacles to see and enjoy it.
And at Christmas time?
Well, we decorate that tree just the way she should be decorated because that tree means family, and memories and love.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone.
Cher Hebert is a community correspondent for East St. Paul. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.