Sunday morning late in April and the fragrance of the locust trees rested
romantically like over the yard. There was not only the sweet smell but,
there was also, the very large clusters of hanging, white blossoms
greeting any who walked across the early spring scene. It was only
twenty-six years ago when we stood around the back end of a pick up truck
in order to purchase the thirty-six-inch sticks they were then. The state
was offering the trees at an unbelievable price of eighteen dollars for
one hundred trees. The trees were offered to country people with spaces to
fill in order to try to stop eroding hillsides. If there was ever an
eroding hill side, it was hers. There was a small choice of pine trees,
mulberry, locust and some others equally as unpopular in ranching areas.
The serious minded farmers of the area did not intimidate Donna. She knew
their out ward rough appearance was deceitful. They could be anything from
what they appeared to be up and unto a Senator. Certainly, they covered
all the ground where they stood. However, it was in a meek friendly way.
She did not fit into the group but, they didn't seem to notice or mind her
"Say Girl! You aren't
going to plant those Locust trees are you? Her Dad was an old time rancher
to the bone. "They are miserable trees, you know." "
Thorns, Hateful thorns on them!" "Surely, you will think again
Usually, when their Dad spoke,
it was to give them "leeway" to make their own decisions. He was
a heavy advocate for freedom, and he practiced what he believed. With this
knowledge of the man as he was a younger person, she did not comment, one
way or another. She simply went ahead with the planting.
Two hundred holes in wet cold
ground later, Donna came into the house after slipping out of her mud
boots. She, with little grace, dropped into an easy chair, too exhausted
to move. At that moment the front door swung open and it was her
mother-in-law who came walking into the house. The woman always looked
like she had stepped out of the door of a beauty shop and, or, the door of
the local dress shop. If Donna was a little overcome by the power of the
woman's appearance, she was too tired to feel anything, much less, to
complain about it. Her own wind whipped hair, grubby hands, mud speckled
clothes she shrugged away with a cool detachment.
As the trees began to grow
there was, indeed, the hated thorns. A hoe handle run along the trunk of
the trees knocked them away and gradually they began to shoot upwards,
thorn free. The yearly pruning of low branches also added to a more
dignified appearance for the lowly thorn tree.
This pruning brought her home
from the most beautiful surrounding of Dallas, Texas. They lived there in
an area setting on the shores of a wide lake. When spring approached Donna's mind was pulled to the acre setting on top of a dry, hard, red
clay, bank in Oklahoma where struggling, ugly thorn trees were trying to
take their place there.
"I must get home," Donna
told her husband. "The trees need to be pruned." Her
husband sometimes looked at her like she had two heads, but he would not
deter her when she had made a decision. So it was, she returned to
Oklahoma, pruned the trees, and stayed with her father until his death.
Spring was upon them once
again. The Locust trees were blooming their drooping white blossoms when Donna's mother walked into the house. She had a small bundle under her
arm and wordlessly she set the package in the middle of the kitchen table.
"Your Locust trees are in
bloom. They, sure smell sweet. You know your Dad didn't want you to plant
"I know. I hated to
disappoint him on that part of things." "Why I went ahead with
planting them, I will never know." " I had no idea the thorns
would eventually be stopped from growing by knocking them off the
trunks." "As far as their blooming those beautifully hanging
blossoms, this was a surprise to me, also." " The only thing I
was thinking about was that they only cost me eighteen dollars."
"What is in the
package?" Donna was curious.
"Well, I don't know if
you remember the old photographs Dad was always so protective over?"
"Of course, Mother! He
was so careful of those photographs. "I always loved to look at
"Well, I'm sure he would
have wanted you to have them." Donna's mother was offering them to
"Oh Mother! Are you
The little Native American
woman was by no means slow. She was "quick witted" and had
survived through her ability to think on her feet. "You will do
something with them," she said.
"Even if it is just to
frame some of them for your home."
When she was alone, Donna
began to pull the photographs from their little tin box. Some of these she
recognized of people's names on the back wrote at her father's dictation.
"Well, Dad," she
spoke to his remembrance, "I guess you found a way to keep me busy
and out of the sorrow of having to say good-byes to you. I'm sorry about
the Locust trees, but I do wish you could enjoy their fragrance this