Mackinaw Street, ending in front of the house I grew up in, formed a T with Monroe Road which ran parallel to the front of our house. Looking south from our front porch, 12 mature maple trees grew alongside the left side of Mackinaw Street between the curb and the side walk.
One day, I sat on the front porch watching my dad plant twelve elm trees opposite the giant maples, alongside the chain link fence that surrounded the athletic field, where there were no trees. He wouldn’t let me help yet, he commanded my attention and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him while he worked.
His efforts to beautify that side of the street were a small gift to make the town look a little nicer but, because he had somehow drawn me into his efforts and intentions the experience took on a larger meaning.
I still have a crystal clear image of him laboring to plant the trees which has become for me, the epitome of a special kind of giving … and loving.
I tell you this for no other reason than to let you know about an aspect of my father that imbued within me certain traits and attitudes that are the result of the kind of love he gave.
He didn’t show his love with warm words and open affection. Rather he gave a constant stream of interesting, learning, at times extremely difficult, life altering experiences in a multitude of unique situations that I have always taken for granted but realize now, had a profound affect on me.
This will be one of those experiences; it’s a short kind of sad story about those maple trees and their relationships with people and people and their relations with other people ….