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My father planted a tree

My father planted a tree

Me, Piper and my dad, William, 1997

My fathered planted a weeping willow tree in the backyard of 1216 Ave. K North in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, when we bought the house in 1959. The tree grew as my brother and I walked to Henry Kelsey public school; its branches grew and touched the grass. We hid beneath the branches and played in a fantasy world.

The branches had to be picked up before we mowed the lawn when we were in high school.

I could see the tree from the kitchen window as my mother washed the dishes and my brother and I dried.

The tree was there when my mother and father divorced and it was there when I left home.

The tree grew up with me.

In 1997 I came home to visit my father in the house I grew up in; he lived there with his wife and his two dogs, Sally and Maggie.

The tree had been cut down. There was no shade on the lawn, no branches to pick up.

My daughter didn’t get to meet the tree. The tree of my childhood.

Four months later at Thanksgiving, my stepmother called me, “Your father has cancer. Please come home for Christmas.”

We came home. My husband, my child and I.

He died on March 17th, 1998. The tree and my father were both dead.

Last year I found out I had cancer. Skin cancer, malignant melanoma. The cancer was contained.

I planted a tree in my backyard. For me and my dad. A Canadian Maple.


Writing for five minutes, unedited,with the word prompt, Tree,  with Lisa-Jo Baker at Five Minute Friday.

Do you have a tree you grew up with? Please tell me in the comments, I would love to chat.


About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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  • renee

    I planted a weeping willow at our house in MI–we still drive by and see it when we go back “home”. Planting anything can be very therapeutic . . . even if it is just the seed of inspiration.

    • Good Morning Renee,
      The next time you go back “home,” will you take a picture of your weeping willow? It is still your tree, someone else is taking care of it for you.

  • Alison Alison

    Hi Pamela, we had a Mulberry tree in our yard. Between us 8 kids we played ,hid and spied. My parents split when I was nearly 8 and I didn’t have a relationship with my Father again until I was 51. I asked him where the tree went,he quickly said it had “had it”. But I think otherwise and keep it a thought.He also told me after Mum and us kids left he would wake during the night to hear us kids playing and laughing. So I understand his pain a little more now,he is 90(and a half). I have a Japanese Elm and my dogs ashes are under there. Tomorrow I pick up 10 boxes of 60 seedlings toraise for a landholder.Do you see a connection Pamela.

    • Alison, thank you for telling me about your Mulberry tree and about your father. I can see him sad hearing all eight of you laughing and playing. And I can see your Japanese Elm where your dogs ashes are. Yes, I see a connection, and I see a beautiful story of grace and love. Thank you again.

  • nicolerc76

    Hi Pamela, I am visiting from FMF and was touched by your the story of your tree. Thank you for sharing! BTW, I wrote about a weeping willow tree too. 🙂

    • Hello Niki,
      Thank you for sharing you story, I popped over and read it and commented. We both love willow trees, it must be the low hanging branches and the secret hiding place that we love.

  • It really is a great idea to plant a tree to mark something special in our lives. We have one in our home. It’s now a huge 30-year-old mango tree, which our uncle and our dad planted when I was still a baby. It also holds a lot of our childhood memories… Glad to know the skin cancer’s contained. 🙂

    • You have a tree too; it grew up with you. Trees do hold memories, is there a memory about your tree you want to share? I am so curious.
      Thank you for your concern about my skin cancer.

      • Where to begin? haha. We used to treat it as our “homebase” when we played tag. We used to find bird nests in our yard (no eggs, no bird) and we’d inspect them and find all sorts of materials like feather and sometimes, strings or fabric. The mango tree was always in the background when our mom takes our “end of school year” photos. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the treehouse type. But being kids, we often planned how we could build one. We never got around to it because we never even dared to climb it. It had always been huge and intimidating. Even grown men rarely agree to climb it (unless paid). 🙂

        • Thank you for sharing your tree memories. Now I want to search through my photographs and find photographs of my childhood tree.

  • kathunsworth

    Pamela a beautiful idea to plant a tree in memory of those we love and have lost. We are going to do this at the local Botanical Gardens, you can sponsor a tree and leave a plaque with words to remember those people gone but not forgotten. For my mothers eightieth birthday next year this is what she wants for her birthday a tree and plaque in memory of her husband and my wonderful father. Lovely post.

    • Kath, what a special birthday present to your mother. It will be a gift to you as well, to remember your father. I am sorry he died. Daddies are special.

  • Oh Pamela – I am sorry. I have always had such an affinity with trees – sounds as if you, too.

    • Thank you Karen, sometimes it feels like he is still here. I use to call him every Sunday afternoon.
      Do you like to plant trees too?