The Red Tree

My dad was a milkman and spent his days driving mile upon mile delivering dairy products to his customers in the inner city and rural towns of central Massachusetts. Driving his truck far and wide six days a week he was able to see some wonderful sights. When I was quite young, I particularly recall his overwhelming enthusiasm for a specific fall scene. He enthusiastically described the most beautiful tree he had ever seen in a field on one of his routes. It was a red maple the likes he had never seen. He spoke nonstop about that crimson sighting.

That Sunday he announced we were going take a little drive to see a that famed red tree. With rolling eyes and sarcastic comments we piled into the family station wagon for a ride. None of us were quite thrilled with that adventure, except dad of course. After driving for what seemed like eternity we came to a wide open pasture. In the center of the field stood one small maple tree. We got out of the car and stared as my dad claimed, “Isn’t that the most beautiful tree you have ever seen?” We were dumbstruck and wondered what to say to our dad. Were our eyes fooling us? All we saw was a scrawny dull brown tree. We chuckled. While not the most beautiful tree we had ever seen we could only respond with beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

But all was not lost that day because fortunately for us, having a milkman for a dad also means having knowledge of the location of every ice cream shop within 100 miles. Ice cream makes everything right for sure!

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2 Replies to “The Red Tree”

  1. Christine, I am thinking how that tree was ablaze in all its crimson glory when your dad first saw it, so for him, it would always be “the most beautiful tree.” Same as a spouse, many years into a marriage, with wrinkles and age spots, is the same “most beautiful” beloved. So true about it being in the eye – and the heart – of the beholder. The beautiful stays beautiful in memory. And – I am so intrigued that he was a milkman! That’s fascinating. Oh, how lucky you were about all those ice cream shops! Such a poignant post.

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