When I was 4 years old, we use to have an empty lot next door to our house that all the neighborhood kids would play in. The boys would pitch their tents, my dad and brothers would practice their golf swings, hitting numerous balls across the street into another wooded area. Horseshoes were often played leaving the ever familiar dirt marks, where the grass had been worn away with every toss, and two metal posts submerged from the ground for us smaller kids to run into or trip over, when this game went into a slumber, until the next challenge was scheduled.
When my father's cousin decided to build her home on this lot, our customary play was terminated. Not knowing, due to my age, that the trees were to be cut, I managed to yank a small Maple sapling from this lot and stick it, smack dab, in the middle of my sandpile. When my father saw this (or it could have also been my mother) they knew the Maple didn't have a chance in the sand, so they took it and planted it where they knew it would thrive and live a long and prosperous life.
Over the years 'my' tree, as my parents referred to it as such, has given us much pleasure. Even to this day, it holds inside of it, one of those famous horseshoes from the lot. In remembrance of our good times, my father placed one horseshoe in the crotch of the tree as it was growing and is buried deep inside the trunk.
It pleases me that my children have enjoyed this tree also. When they were little, they would rake the leaves, make piles and jump in them. On a hot summer day, they would sit under the tree with their grandfather letting the tree shade and cool them. Helping grandpa plant the many Hosta around the tree was a challenge for them, but managed the chore. When older, my one son would always try to climb it. Today, my granddaughter finds great pleasure in gathering the seed pods, "to help clean up great grandma's yard." As this wonderful tree grows, so does our family. This 48 year old tree still has a lot of living to do, just as my children and grandchildren do. With the right nurturing, our family will continue to grow and give each other just as much pleasure in the same way 'my' tree did for our family.
My Maple Tree
Filling her bag with seed pods
The tedious task of picking
and placing them in the bag
bag number three about ready to be dumped
Seed pods collected.... about 100