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Not to be confused with the Jolly Green Giant.

I spent a bit of time on the phone yesterday with a lady at my local nursery quizzing her on evergreen trees, pines specifically. I wanted to find a tree that would work well in my environment, yet be a fitting memorial to my dad. She gave me some ideas and I spent last evening researching some of the options that she gave me. I had decided that I would go with a Norwegian Pine tree because it seemed very suited to the soil conditions of my back yard. All the options she gave me were suited to my back yard, but the Norwegian Pine was visually more what I had in mind. So my plan for lunch today was to go to the nursery and pick out a Norwegian Fir Tree.

You know what they say about the best laid plans, right?

I headed straight for the Norwegian Pine section and they were beautiful. I walked up and down the aisle looking at each tree. Touching it. Moving on to the next one. I got to the end of the Pines and came upon the Blue Spruce (Colorado Spruce, Fat Boy Spruce whatever name you want to use for them) and I went, “Ooh…Christmas tree.” But I already knew that I didn’t want a Blue Spruce.

I walked back through the Spruces to the Norwegians and touched each tree again. The lovely gentleman that was showing me the trees had a great love for them, I could tell. He talked about each of the trees like Dad always talked about his garden. We got through to the other side of the Norwegians and I stopped short and gasped. I headed straight for the next section of trees and began running my hands along the needles. So soft. They weren’t really a needle, even though it’s classified as a needle. It was as if a fern branch had been all squashed together into a needly format and put onto this perfectly shaped tree. I stood there awkwardly fondling the tree while the little old man rattled on about this tree. It would get to anywhere between 30 and 40 feet in height and grow anywhere from 10 to 20 feet at its widest point. It was a hardy tree and would withstand Missouri winter and summer extremes. I barely heard a word he was saying because of the internal conflict. The plan was for a pine. This is not a pine. How do I completely veer from the plan.

One thing I’ve learned in life is that plans don’t always work out the way you want them, and if you don’t learn to adjust, you’ll go mad.

So I veered.

I told the man, “I want this type of tree.” With a twinkle in his eye he said, “Oh, I knew you’d love it.” We walked up and down the aisle looking for just the right shape and fill. He’d cheerily go, “Oh, look at this one!” I’d walk over to where he was standing. We’d circle the tree, checking it out from every angle. Then we’d look at another one. Then back to this one. Then over to that one. After coming back to the same tree for the fifth time, he goes, “I think you’ve found your tree.” I couldn’t disagree with him. I asked if it could be loaded in my truck now or if I should arrange to come back another time. He said he would get the forklift out and get me my tree. I admit, I squealed. “Ooh! TREE!!” And I turned to walk away from him, towards the office so I could pay for it.

Then out of the blue, the tears started falling. I can’t say it was unexpected because I have learned that tears for my dad fall at completely random, weird times so nothing really surprises me anymore. And I had just picked out his tree, so this was a less weird time for tears to fall than others.

And now I have this tree. I can’t wait to go home and plant it.

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Its foliage is soft. Its trunk is strong. Soft and strong. Like my dad was. Gentle, kind, and loving. Firm when he needed to be. I will think of him as I watch his tree grow.

Arborvitae. The Green Giant.

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