An Uprooting Experience
Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at
When I was a kid we had this Magnolia tree in our backyard. It started out in our side yard but was moved to the back later – I think it had something to do with the instillation of our swimming pool. At this time the tree was still young and not too big to move. It thrived in its new home growing quite large in what my memory recalls was overnight. It produced very large flowers and my mother loved it like a 4th child.
During hurricane Hugo in September of 1989 my mother’s youngest was uprooted and blown over. She was devastated but took her positive attitude and my dad to a hardware shop (or the neighbors garage?) and found a come-along. With determination she set out in the yard and gave my father direction while he attached the come-along to the tree, then to the house, and attempted to crank the tree back into a standing position. I may not be remembering all of the completely accurately but I think something happened at first and the come-along ripped off the house or something.
The things us wives have our men do…
Anyway, eventually the Magnolia tree could be seen standing again. It required a careful arrangement of stakes and ropes to keep it upright. All was good and things looked promising. Then, in December of that same year we sold our house.
I remember discussion about taking the tree with us to our new house about 2 miles away. In all the tree madness of the previous months this is when I first started to think that my parents were losing it. It was a tree. In fact, our house backed up to a decent sized plot of woods. We had tons of trees and I just didn’t understand why this Magnolia tree was so important. It was just a tree.
Fast forward about 19 years.
We are moving. We don’t have orders yet so nobody get excited. But, we do know that within the next few months we will be traveling from WA state to Florida.
I have an absolutely gorgeous slow growing Japanese Maple tree that my husband bought me when we first moved into this house. His name is Wayne and I don’t want to leave him behind.
I have become my mother. But worse. I have actually given the tree a human name.
On top of that I have my 8th anniversary gift from my husband, a Betty Boop rose bush, that almost died before I ever got a chance to plant it years ago, appropriately named Betty. She has quadrupled in size and I don’t want to leave her behind either. I babied her back to life and this whole transfer thing has me feeling very sad when it comes to these two garden centerpieces.
My sweet, sweet, sweet husband looked at me with a contorted expression when I mentioned the possibility of taking them with us. Then, just as quickly as his initial reaction arose it left (smart man) and he said something like, “I think we could probably do that”.
Now, the maple tree and rose bush are not quite the size of my mother’s Magnolia tree. They are both small enough to fit in our travel trailer and transporting them might be a pain but completely possible. Still, logic tells me that they are just trees. Plus, we are only going to live in Florida for about 18 months. What am I going to do then? Take them with me again? What about our next transfer after that? And after that?
More than a decade after becoming a Navy wife I still find these fastballs being thrown at me. Being a military family does have its perks and my family takes to the changes quite well but the possibility that I may actually uproot a tree and a bush is making me wonder if I’ve gone a tad nutty. It is this whole emotional pregnancy bit I’ve got going on, I think. I’ll just call it hormones and go take a nap.
But before I lay me down to sleep I’ll finish the story about the Magnolia tree – it didn’t make it and went onto tree heaven before we moved out of our house. I remember that my mom was devistated. Until now I couldn’t understand her attachment to that tree. But now I do to a small degree. It wasn’t just a tree to her. It was a symbol of something. A memory. A child she watched grow from a baby sapling to a full grown beautiful tree. It was hard to let go.
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