Sunday, August 21, 2011

An Old Friend

I lost an old friend today. It was hard to say goodbye. OK, before things get out of hand I probably should tell you that my old friend was the first apple tree we planted when we move here in 1980.
At that time, we still lived in a 12x60 foot house trailer. It was gray and ivory on the outside and unfortunately had burnt orange shag carpet in the living room. I still shudder a little, but it was what we called home after we got married. 
In our defense, orange carpet was all the rage in the early 70's. No, I'm not sure what the trailer buying population was thinking at that time, but be that as it may, we were newly weds, and we were happy to have a place of our own.
In 1974 the trailer was parked in a small mobile home park but in 1980, when we got a chance, we moved it to the property where we now live.
I'd just started with the phone company and I was making $3.17 an hour. We didn't have a lot of extras in those days, but we managed.
The first spring after we moved here, we ordered a dwarf golden delicious apple tree from the Stark Brothers catalog. It wasn't expensive, but when we factored it into our budget, we had to cut expenses in order to afford it.
When the tree arrived, I dug a hole deep into the clay and filled it with compost. The tiny tree was as thin as a New York runway model. 
But we fed and coddled the little tree as if it were a baby with colic. As the years passed it grew to a height of about 15 feet, and it bore softball sized golden delicious apples that tasted like they'd been sprinkled with pure cane sugar.
In late summer each year we ate  apples, Jilda made apple pies, we gave apples to our friends, and there were apples left for the deer to enjoy.
Then last year, our little tree began to decline in health. I tended the tree, but it looked tired.
This year, its health declined steadily. A few days ago, one half of the tree broke off from the trunk.
When I went out today it was obvious that the remaining trunk was terminal. I took the chain saw and cut what was left down. 
I know there are some folks that would chide me for becoming sentimental over an apple tree. I understand that, and it's OK with me, but that little tree meant a lot to me. 
We used our money, when we didn't have much to spare, to buy that tree.  It was almost as if it understood that it had to earn its keep.  And for 30 years, it did. 
So today as I was taking down the tree, it was not with out reflection.  I thank my old friend for all the gifts it gave us through the years.


  1. I'd be sad too. Thirty years for an apple tree is pretty good. I have to replace all of my fruit trees. Deer killed the apple trees and something got into the others.
    I have challenged you to do the underwear meme. Questions are on my blog.

  2. I really like the fact that the "apple tree earned its keep" - that is a great way to look aat it.

    Sorry for the loss. I just hate it every time we have had to cut down something that we had planted with our own hands.

    Lots of good memories of those pies, though. :)

  3. O know I would be very sad as well! That is a very special tree filled with wonderful memories through the years. Im sure all those you have enjoyed the fruit of her vines will miss her too. Thank you for Sharing this family member and story with us. Very honored.

  4. I am sorry for the loss of that apple tree. I grew up on a farm and we had trees all around the farm that my Dad had planted with his parents. One of the trees had an old swing made out of an old tire. the rope had actually grown right into the limb of the tree. every sybling, cousin, grand child etc all swang on that swing usually with my Dad onlooking. My Dad died suddenly two years ago and the tree was gone about one month later. As hard as it was losing my Dad, it was hard when that tree went because of all the memories....sorry I went on and on.
    In the back of my yard is a big old Maple tree and I look out and somehow feel the strength of my Dad when I look at the tree. Sorry for the loss of your friend. thanks for this post that triggered some wonderful memories. take care.

  5. Oh, I can see why you would miss that lovely apple tree. It was with you and Jilda for so long and you enjoyed its bounty. We had a golden delicious tree at a house we lived in for three years. My daughter used to pick an apple on the way to school. We all loved that tree.
    I remember orange shag carpets!

  6. Trees are our best friends! I'm sorry for your loss - truly! I miss my own (well my family's) apple tree in the home I grew up in but had to leave. My mum planted it in our pocket garden - it wasn't even a foot high! Oh but for 26 years it grew and was just lovely until we all moved out and sold the house. I hope whoever bought the house kept the tree. :-(

    I hope you and Jilda get to plant a new one! Take care

  7. I can understand, this was your friend and nourisher. Sorry ... but maybe you can plant another one?

  8. What a beautiful, sensitive post!
    We humans get attached to plants and animals and suffer when we have to part with them.

    Hopefully, there will be another apple tree for you to bring you joy and fruit.

  9. I get it! In fact - Dwayne and I have, pretty much, done the same thing here. Our Pink Lady Apple Tree from Nature Hills was the one we purchased and planted in the first spring of being here at our place after we bought in. We've added to the inventory each year. And I try taking photos of the progress.

    By the time you plant - your mind is already years ahead of you - knowing the 3 year beginning is most critical to their life span. So you have to fix your excitement in preparation of enjoying fruit at a much later time than you wish. LOL

    Yet - you know that anything - weather, bug, etc. - can come along at any time and rob you of all that emotional attachment you invest.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. I don't chide you, that tree was part of who you are, where you had been and where you are. Trees are the reason I bought my house, we are the only house on the street that has more than 2. :)

    Your button question... no I do not have one yet. Been meaning to do one but haven't got around to it yet. I'll keep you informed. But if you do one I'd be more than happy to put yours on my blog as well. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  11. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Actually I get it. I can see where it is a part of your past that brought you happiness and was a symbol on top of the fact that apple pie is delicious. I'm sorry you had to do that.
    As for the delightful book you sent me. I got it Saturday and have been reading away. Love it. What a great job you have done. Thank you thank you for your gift!

  12. Hard not to mourn a tree you planted and that provided you with so much.

  13. You bunch tree huggers. I knew I was crazy about y'all for some reason :)
    @ Jules Here is a link to how to create a blog button. I put one on my site yesterday :

    @ Craziness Abounds, thanks for being my 300th follower. I'm glad you're enjoying my book.

    Thanks all.

  14. I feel a connection with trees, especially those I've planted or "lived with" for a while. There is almost a sense of sentience on their part, as you express here. I'm glad to see so many readers connect with this post as well.

  15. I'd be sad too - it's hard to lose an old friend we depended on for so many years.

  16. this story again showed how beautiful person you are.

    nice one!


  17. What a lovely post. Yes, I do understand being attached to a tree, especially when it is part of your life and growing with your relationships. Sorry it had to go.

  18. Nobody should chide you for sentiment. It was part of yours and Jilda's history. Things matter.

  19. Aww...what a friend you had in that apple tree. It was a lovely way to mark the years. I have a great deal of sentiment for the living-giving things in our yard.


  20. I'm so sorry you lost that dear old friend. :( I would be heartbroken, too. Losing trees has become a habit here at my place. We've planted two dogwoods, an ornamental plum, an oak, a couple of pin oaks that didn't survive more than 13 months or so. (13 months because they were guaranteed for 12, you know.) But we've managed to keep two October Glory Maples and a pin oak alive for about 12 years and a weeping willow for about 13. It had always been my dream to have a weeping willow, but now my willow looks unhealthy, as if it is about to give up and let go. I certainly hope not. :( However, if it doesn't survive, I will do my best to adopt your attitude: It sure did earn it's keep by allowing me many years of watching its beautiful, swaying branches dancing in the breeze.

  21. Isn't there a story about a young boy and a tree and how they grow old the end it shows the boy, now an old man, sitting on the stump of the old tree? Maybe I have that wrong, but that tree sure did serve you well...did you use the wood for a nice, delish smelling campfire? I have special attachments to trees also. My Dad planted pine trees at my childhood home..Mom still lives there...and I can remember jumping over those tiny things..they had to be taken down last year and it was a very sad moment for all of us.

  22. Trees can be just like old friends. What wonderful memories you have with that beautiful old tree! It's hard to see them go.

  23. Hello again Life 101,
    One of nice parts in Visiting another's Blog to read and explore, is also in reading the Messages left by other Visitors.

    Has been beautiful to read not only about how your wonderful Golden Delicious Apple Tree became part of your Life and gave so much to you and your Friends, but also how warmly others have shared of their connections and losses with cherished Trees.
    And for being a Dwarf... your Apple Tree reaching 15ft is to me was one huge Dwarf!

    Trees exchange with us so much... the loss of one hurts... it's like losing something of one's self when one dies.

    Thank you for sharing. Beautiful reading a Tree is loved. Very special for all Trees to feel, which I am sure they are.

    With appreciation, and a farewell to dwarf Golden Delicious Apple Tree... you were loved, and will always be remembered.
    Best wishes from Magda in Australia.

    PS. Thanks also Life 101 for the Button info... have often wondered how they were achieved.


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