Lain's Log

A Tale of Two Trees

November 11/11.

Remembrance Day today. As a result, I am remembering people. Watching the emotional CBC coverage of the main ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa this morning was a moving experience. Seeing the faces of the veterans and cadets, hearing the children's choir sing In Flanders Field, witnessing the two minutes of silence at 11 o'clock, followed by the flybys of military jets and helicopters and the firing of artillery guns, all brought tears to my eyes.

I didn't anticipate responding in quite this manner, but in light of missing my Mum and Uncle Ev (plus just generally being in a constant state of heightened emotion these days), I should have expected it. Wandered down to Withrow Park later in the afternoon to jot down a few thoughts in a notebook for myself, and for the blog.

To pick up my spirits, decided to wear a new outfit I bought yesterday. (Thankyou Carolyn and Neil, for the Winners gift card!!) I adore this dress, and the tights & boots! Feels good and this is the me I want to project right now. My daughter, Kate, took the photo in our backyard, surrounded by the beautiful trees. Which brings me to my next subject. TREES. I love them! Always have.
The big willow tree - (among others) in our backyard.

I'm not a "tree hugger", but immensely enjoy being surrounded by them and have been known to cry at length, when I see someone cutting one down, no matter the reason.

More of the stunning, colourful trees in our yard.

Nearly twenty years ago, when we were shopping for a house, I told Sam I wanted a place that didn't just look out over another house. I wanted a gorgeous view and TREES. When we discovered this Riverdale property, Sam looked out the back window, pointed,

and quipped to me, "Will THIS do"?? Yep.

To add to my bliss, the house is right down the street from Withrow Park, which in the fall (even well into November - like today, when I took this picture), the colours are golden and glorious!

And EVERYBODY looks better when surrounded by colour, trees and leaves!

Now my little tale of two trees. Each tree special in its own way. Recently, we were asked by our neighbours, Judith and Brian Hunt, to contribute to a fundraising event to pay for the planting of a memorial tree on Logan Avenue, off Withrow Park in memory of our late friend, Manuel Machado who lived on our tree-lined street for decades.

Everyone knew Manuel and he was such a familiar face on our street. Following a painful hip replacement, he insisted on walking each day to a special bench at the park where he would sit for a while and watch the world go by.

A few days ago, I received an email message from the Hunts, telling us, the tree, at long last, had been planted. Here's what it said.

"We can now report that the tree with its plaque is finally in place. As promised it is a sugar maple and located in Withrow Park beside Logan between Albemarle and Grandview. It looks rather fine".

"The Parks Dept didn’t let us know when the planting would take place as I had understood, but they did send a note saying it had happened, along with a certificate to prove it".

Manuel and Bambina Machado

"As promised, the small sum left over from the total collected has been sent to Hill House Hospice, the place where Manuel spent his last days".
Judith and Brian Hunt

Now, the little tree (in front), is surrounded by much bigger and grander trees, but one day, Manuel's sugar maple will grow as tall as they are!

Welcome to the neighbourhood and thank you to Judith and Brian for making it happen!

Now, moving on from one tree teller to the next!

The second tree tale will be told by "guest reporter" Carrie Loring, (my phenomenal sister). The tree she is reflecting on here, was very special to her and to her young son, Lee, (who is now 16, but will never forget the tree in his late Gramma's front yard). Take it Cayr!!

Carrie's tale of one tree.

My mother had a beautiful tree on the front of her property. It was
full and lush. Mum loved it.

Every time Lee visited his Gramma, he spent much time climbing high in this tree (with his Mum and Gramma nervous beneath it.)

One day, some years ago, lightning struck the tree, and it was

We were all so saddened (Lee especially), when it needed to be removed. What a lush, full tree it was!

Lee, Carrie, Franc Mosbaugh, Kate, Lain, Gramma, Max, surveying the damage.

The city said they would replace it, but for months they never showed.
Finally, after numerous frustrating calls, they came to Mum's door
and asked what kind of tree she would like. They gave her a choice.
She chose the white chestnut tree. She had known a guy in highschool by the name of Hank Chestnut, and that association influenced her
choice. Another many months passed, no tree arrived,

and Mum continued to look out at the treeless yard,

and saw only a stump of the old tree. (It was particularly noticeable during garage sales, when we had NO shade in the front yard)! Then finally, the city showed up and planted what apparently was a
chestnut tree.
It was the skinniest little twig you have ever seen.
Mum was infuriated. We put more calls in to complain. She threatened to rip it out herself, and plant something else. Still no response back from the city.

She stared at this "Charlie Brown tree" every day, until one morning she woke up and decided that instead of fighting it, she would nurture it.

She watered him every day, and well, "Hank", as he was known, started to blossom, - not a lot, but a little. Mum hoped that she would live to see the day that Lee could climb the tree once again. (Of course, that was not to be). However, last spring, for the first time, Hank suddenly grew thick and lush. Lain and I have been amazed to see his growth! He is a "government tree", but it took years of bureaucracy and love to get Hank this far!

Now, when Lee passes by his Gramma's house, he doesn't always think of this devastation!

but of the days he used to energetically climb the tree,

and hoping, maybe one day, he, (or his own children?), will climb it again!

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