Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Pear Tree For A Legacy?

More than 30 years ago my Dad transplanted a pear tree in the back yard. He was big on organic gardening, planting trees, bushes, nurturing them to watch them flourish. Ten years after we moved from Hickory Valley, Tennessee, he drove the110 miles back to dig up a fig bush he'd left behind. It now grows near the house in the backyard. The pear tree stands 30 yards away..

Daddy lived long enough to enjoy the figs, but passed away in the summer of 1980, years before the pear tree produced. I remember him fertilizing around it and wondering if his toil was for naught.

In the fall of 2011 during my weekly visit to Mom's, I gathered three large bags of the delicious fruit. Mom also called in friends and neighbors to share in the bounty. Still, innumerable pears hung from the tree and dozens were scattered beneath it.

After gathering the fruit that day, I set the heavy sacks on the table, then turned to my mother and asked,. "Do you think Daddy ever considered he might be leaving a legacy behind when he planted the pear tree? I wonder what he'd say if he knew people from miles around wree coming with baskets to gather his pears."

She shrugged. "I don't know, but it has really produced the fruit this year.

"A gift that keeps on giving," to use the cliche'. My dad was a giver. He would be pleased to know he shared pears with his small community. Who can count the jars of preserves that have been made from that one tree?

This gave me food (or fruit) for thought. Does everyone leave a legacy behind? Whether we know it or not, something we say, or some act of kindness we show to another, could become a legacy. Who knows what kind word or deed will change another's life?

My fifth-grade teacher did not live long enough to learn she'd planted a dream in my heart when she announced to the class, "One day, Laurie will become an author."I never forgot her words, but thought it was an elusive. Even so, I hid them in my heart while I married, worked at a toilsome job, and raised a child. It took a few decades before I acted on her words. But I finally did.

My desire is for the words I write to become my legacy. My prayer is the something I've written will influence and encourage my readers in a positive way. The best compliment I could receive would be to hear a reader say, "Thank you. Your story helped me through a difficult time."

And I am blessed to have already heard those words from readers.
                                                                       ****
An update on the tree: The following year, 2012, was another bumper crop for the pears.  In August, before they ripened, we put Mom in an assisted living home. Nevertheless neighbors and friends were invited to gather the pears when they came in, in October and November..

The mystery to me was, the next year the tree produced nothing. It was as if an unseen hand had watched over the tree throughout the years, providing those pears for Mom and the community. But when Mom went to assisted living, that same hand let the pear tree rest because she no longer needed them.

20 comments:

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Your blog really spoke to me. I see how much you loved your dad and how much his pear tree means to you. My dad survived the Great Depression and handed down his skills for gardening to my sister and me. We know about those compost heaps, let me tell ya.
My 12th grade high school teach, Thomas Freeman, told me something very similar to what your teacher told you--that I should become a professional writer. I became published after he died and it kind of bothers me that he never lived to know about it.
A wonderful blog, Laurean

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you Sarah. It seems we have lived similar, parallel lives. I wish you the best with your writing.

I, too, wish Mary Brann had lived long enough so I could thank her. But she's been gone over three decades.

On a lighter note, at one of my first book signings, Mrs. Mary's son showed up to "meet the lady who so highly esteemed my mother." And he bought a book!

I was touched by his thoughtfulness.

Miss Mae said...

Wow, Laurie, this was such a wonderful post. So thoughtful and deep and insightful.

You're right. Do we leave legacies? I hope I do. Though, of course, like your dad, we may never live long enough to find out.

Again, terrific post.

Laurean Brooks said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it. You, too, will leave a legacy with your hair-raising thrillers.

You know, we still talk about Alfred Hitchcock. He certainly left a legacy.

Anne Patrick said...

I enjoyed your post, Laurie! I just imagine Mary and Thomas are looking down on you and Sarah and neither are surprised you made it.

Danielle Thorne said...

Wonderful message. Whether it's a tree, a garden, or articles of memories left behind, we truly do leave part of ourselves behind in what we do and how we live. Great stories. And yum for the pears!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Lorean,
I loved this post. I could just see the pear tree, all the kids eating the pears, and the pear preserves in their jars, thanks to your dad.

Laurean Brooks said...

Anne,

I believe that, too. That God allowed Miss Mary and Sarah's teacher to see the differences they've made in the lives of their pupils.

Thank you for stopping by.

Laurean Brooks said...

Danielle,

I hadn't thought of such objects as pear trees becoming legacies until I looked the word "legacy" up in Webster. That's when my eyes were opened. A legacy can be anything; Something physical or something inanimate.

Who knows how far-reaching the effects, even years down the road?

Laurean Brooks said...

Gail,

I wish I could reach through the screen and hand you a juicy pear. They are plentiful, but will soon be gone--what with the neighbors and us kids hoarding them. LOL.

Until next October. Then the rush is on!

I'm pleased you enjoyed the post.

Diane Craver said...

Great blog, Laurie! That's a wonderful blessing to many people because your dad spent time taking care of the pear tree. I can tell that you have many of the same qualities as your father...caring, sensitive, filled with faith for God, and determination.

We used to have a pear tree in the backyard at our old house and I used to can pears. They tasted so good.

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Wow! What a great post! Yes, you're right. What kind of legacy have we left behind? I read my father's letters when he was a missionary in Florida. He had mentioned an area where he was so close to the people. My sister was curious and visited the area. She met many people that remembered him, each one saying that he had influenced their lives and had grown to love him. Yes, you're right, Laurean! Our Family Legacy!

Laurean Brooks said...

Thank you, Diane. My father was a caring man, but with a crazy sense of humor.

He loved his family enjoyed embellishing funny stories from his childhood.

The elderly widows in our community called on Dad to repair a screen door or a leaky faucet,etc. He rarely accepted payment for any of his work.

Laurean Brooks said...

Linda,

That's wonderful! Those people still remember your dad. What a legacy to leave--one of generous acts of kindness.

Thanks for stopping by.

Donna B said...

Lovely post, Laure! I think that's every writer's prayer, that our words will matter in someone's life. Nice job! Love the pear tree!

Celia Yeary said...

What a darling story. And one that speaksto us as ancestors or offspring. Me? I think a flowering pear tree is so pretty. But have you even had to sit a peel a bunch of pears? They are so hard on the hands...tough skins...and the acid burns the hands.
My mother made pear perserves..very thick and sticky perserves, but once you got them on a buttered biscuit, it was heaven. But earlier...someone had to peel all those pears. My little sister and I... and Mother. I can hardly touch a pear now. But if Mother were stil alive and I had a jar of those perserves...yummm.

Laurean Brooks said...

Donna,

I believe you are right. At least 90 percent of writers would like to leave a legacy through our words. But, like any other profession, there are probably a few in it for other reasons.

Your writing touches the heart. Keep up the good work. Thanks for commenting.

Laurean Brooks said...

Celia,

I helped peel pears, too...and peaches, apples... But those memories were made sweeter by Daddy's tales.

We kids (5 of us) sat in chairs, on the couch, the floor, or anywhere we could find with our buckets full of fruit. We peeled away and grumbled for a little while. Until Daddy started telling his stories. He took us back to his childhood and the mischief he got into.

Before we knew what was happening the hours flew by. They seemed like minutes. The fruit was peeled and we wondered where the time went.

My mother "accidentally" made a batch of those sticky pear preserves one fall. We would plunge a fork into the quart jar and twist it to wrap the gooey mixture around the fork. Then we'd pull out the taffy-like candy. Yum-yum! Those candied pears lasted us all winter.

Who needed candy? Best mistake Mama ever made. LOL.

Gina said...

Dear Laurie,
What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing such a personal memory about your father and your thoughts on leaving a legacy. Like the precious fruit, You are indeed someone whose influence has 'sweetened' my life, and I have enjoyed also the fruits of your kindness - and your wonderful writing, too. Without a doubt, your father (along with many others) must be smiling and proud!
hank you & big hugs,
Regina
And I am sorry I'm late commenting, Laurie

Laurean Brooks said...

Regina,

I'm always late, too. Sometimes I don't even make it. Please forgive me and this slow dial up. LOL

Thank you for your complimentary words. You are too kind. I am happy to claim you as a dear friend.

When I contemplated on Dad's pear tree, I realized a legacy can be anything.

I appreciate you stopping by.