Friday, December 7, 2007

The Homeless Christmas Tree

Where to begin on this story...I guess I'll start with me driving down I-30 here in Fort Worth about four years ago. I think I was on my way to Weatherford where I used to work as the court reporter for the Parker County Court at Law. I was driving along, probably cussing at people who wouldn't get out of my way, and I glance to my right to look at "the tree."

Let me try to explain this sad-looking little tree. I have no idea how tall it is, but from the freeway, it looks to be about seven or eight feet tall. The trunk of the tree kind of curves off towards the west. I have never seen leaves on this tree. The tree sits atop a small hill beside this busy, busy freeway. It is the only tree that can be seen for miles around.

I always glance over at this tree because most of the time it is decorated. At Christmas time, garland and tinsel usually adorn this tree. There is usually a sign that says "Happy Holidays" or something to that effect hung on the tree. This year at Thanksgiving, there was a sign hung on this tree that said "Give Thanks".

But on this particular day, over four years ago, it was not Christmas time or Thanksgiving. In fact, there was no holiday coming up in the near future, and we hadn't just celebrated one. But for some odd reason, I glance at the tree.

There have been times in my life where I wished I had my camera with me in my car, but this day sticks out in my mind as the day I would have given anything to have my camera. What's weird about me is, even if I had my camera with me in my car, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to pull over on this busy freeway, step out and take a picture of this scene that has left such an impression on my mind's eye.

I glance over at "the tree" and I see a black man who appeared to be homeless or at least down on his luck and also a white man. For some reason or another, the appearance of the white man is not burned in my memory. I cannot remember if the white man looked homeless or not. If memory serves me right, this man did not appear homeless at all. I think he had on a pair of slacks and a polo-type shirt and it looked to me like this white man was on his lunch break. Both of these men are standing by this little tree and they're holding a sign and hanging it from a branch of this crooked old tree. The sign said "Peace."

I'll be the first to admit that I am a bawl bag. I tear up over TV commercials. I practically bawl when I watch TV shows such as Extreme Makeover Home Edition. But seeing these two men hanging this particular sign on this particular tree on this particular day made me cry in a particularly uncontrollable way.

Fast forward to today. It's been at least three or four years since I saw these men hanging that sign on that tree. My mother, who has a booth (Booth 37 by the cafe) at the Historic Camp Bowie Mercantile Antique Store, sends me an email. The subject line is this: book about tree on I30 between oakland and beach st.

I open the email and it reads:
there will be a book signing at the Mercantile on Dec 13. Also a mall wide sale from 6:30 - 8.

First of all, I am so excited that someone actually wrote a book about this tree and I am absolutely chomping at the bit to read it. I definitely will be at the book signing. If you get a chance, go to the website and check out this book.

The Homeless Christmas Tree


Qtpies7 said...

Wow, I can't afford that price for a book, but I bet its a tear jerker!
We had a tree like that when we lived in Hampton, Virginia. It was always decorated year round. I don't know how we never saw it happen, but we never did.
Sometimes it was a holiday theme, sometimes it was a memorial theme, but there was always something!

Half-Redneck said...

I found the book for $13.57 @ Amazon

That's still a little high. I'm told this book is more of a childrens book, so I think my Shorty will like it.

I visited your blog today - you really do have seven cutie pies - wow!