(This is another inspired story, from a stolen picture…)
She’d been gone five long years. Jane. To think her name caused John’s head to pulse with remembrance.
John stood at the low curb, looking up at the tree. Jane’s father Jack planted it when her parents owned the suburban house. Jane shyly let John kiss her for the first time under that tree, one Thanksgiving afternoon. There were many more such moments, each melting into the next.
A month before their wedding, her parents told them, “The house is yours. Fill it with love and children, if that’s what you want.”
They moved in three days after their simple wedding. Every fall, John jokingly complained about the mountain of leaves that the vibrant tree produced. Jane laughed like she always did, knowing that he’d faithfully rake and mulch the crimson leaves. Eventually. Often, they were still piled dutifully, awaiting John’s attention, by the time Thanksgiving graced the calendar.
After the diagnosis, John went outside each night to stand under the tree and imagine how it must feel to spend one’s entire life without fearing the next day. Or whatever day would bring finality to the love of his life.
Five years later, he stood with his hand on his daughter Jenny’s shoulder, pointing up at the polychromatic leaves. “Your mother loved this tree, Jenny, like she loved you. When the leaves fall, it’s your mom telling you that everything has its season.”
Jenny looked at the tree, then at John. “Oh Daddy, you’re so cute!”
May every crimson leave bear your name.
Happy Thanksgiving, especially to those with a heavy heart or a burdened mind.