Old backyard friend gets a reprieve

Written by Bob on June 2nd, 2014

060214-Plum_Tree.867lr The old plum tree has lost some limbs and has been decaying, but in its 62 years of living and growing in the Otto’s backyard, it continues to produce delicious Santa Rosa plums year after year. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Our backyard has long been anchored by two old fruit trees, an apple and a plum. In the 35 years we’ve lived in the home, both trees have born lush fruit. Never failing, year after.

Our deed states the home was built in 1952. So I’m guessing the trees were planted about the same time. So bushels and bushels of plums and apples have been picked or fallen from those two trees. Not only feeding my family and friends, but also the flock of wild parrots that seem to know just when the fruit is ripe and ready for gorging.

Those two old trees have also served my family well as jungle gyms. I can see my now grown kids and grandkids climbing from limb to limb. Their laughter a pleasurable memory. I have a picture of my granddaughter Haylee perched in the crook of the apple tree writing a story. It’s a picture I treasure.

And I have another picture of those wild parrots pilfering and feasting on my lush, ripe plums of the Santa Rosa variety.

060314-Plum_Tree.875lr Our plum tree is once agains bearing fruit, just not as much as year’s past. Photo By BOB OTTO

Both trees have withstood wind and hail, blistering heat and numbing cold. Both trees have gaps – like the missing front teeth of an old man – where limbs have died or snapped off due to the elements. But still the trees manage to bloom every spring.

They’re survivors.

My wife, Nanette, suggested that it’s time to cut the plum tree down after the largest limb snapped off this winter. The inner circle was showing a small ring of rot. The old tree could be dying.

So I got out my chainsaw, walked up to the tree intending to cut it down. I looked at the old tree like a friend coming to say goodbye. Coming to put it out of its misery.

But I sat the chainsaw down next to the tree and stepped back. I looked at the buds starting to blossom. I looked back in time when my kids and grandkids climbed in that tree. I thought back upon the parrots’ feasting at the tree’s leafy table of goodness.

And I realized I could not cut the tree down. I told my wife so. If the tree is going to die, then it shall die a natural death. I put the chainsaw away.

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