November 28, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Family Willow

As I sit here in my father's office to do my daily writing exercise, I look out into the front yard. My eyes find the green and golden leaves of the willow tree sitting in the middle of the circular driveway. This is no ordinary tree; it is a family tree, planted with love and nursed from its fragile youth into its strong and growing adolescence. It is a memorial tree, planted during the early 1990s, when my family experienced loss after loss.

First was my grandfather, my father's father, who passed away after a long illness. My other grandfather was next, followed scarcely a year later by his wife. Then both of my father's brothers, my uncles, one drowning in a Caribbean hurricane, the other dying of alcoholism. Not long thereafter, my last surviving grandparent, my father's mother, fell and hit her head, passing away not long thereafter. With her death, my father lost the last member of his immediate family, making a terrible loss all the harder to bear.

At some point during this long period of tragedy, the willow tree was planted, and some of the ashes of these dearly departed family members were interred at the base of the tree. A delicate weeping willow standing in the midst of hardy oaks certainly seems out of place. It invites contemplation and remembrance with its drooping branches.

As I celebrate this Thanksgiving holiday with the members of my wonderful family, my thoughts turn backward to the treasured times I spent with my grandparents and uncles. They are often missed, and the willow ensures they are not forgotten.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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November Columns:

11/28: Family Willow
11/27: Thankful
11/24: Nuclear North Korea
11/21: All Jacko, All the Time
11/20: Mantrimony
11/19: Tutankhamen: Page One
11/18: The Dying Light
11/16: Back to the Grind
11/13: Overpriced
11/12: Land's End
11/11: Veterans' Day
11/10: Cabo Bound
11/9: Supercharged
11/8: Internet Buzz
11/7: Recharged?
11/5: Open Mouth, Insert Foot
11/4: No Wiggle Room
11/1: A Week Lost in Time
Previous months in The Archive

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