My little tree

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DSCF1561.JPGOur little tree this winter

In May 2016, at my father's memorial service, our family gave out tiny white pine seedlings. Families have had varying success with planting their seedlings. Some planted theirs indoors in small pots but the seedling was not happy and withered and died. Our tree will eventually need a new home where there's more room to grow, but for the meantime, it's quite content where it is.

DSCF0368.JPGLooking healthy here, in summer

We put ours in a pot and set it on the picnic table that first night since we were exhausted by the end of that day. Overnight a small creature climbed the picnic table and unearthed it, leaving it in a heap on top of the table. The critter didn't find what it wanted--food, evidently-- and left. Upon finding the sorry little heap the next morning, my husband replanted it in the pot. We decided that putting it in the ground was best, and to protect the seedling, we put a little fence of chicken wire around the tree. The tree is doing well, and has grown at least three times from its original size.

IMG_20160524_114819.jpgother trees planted by family members

Trees were the theme for my dad's service. He'd learned a lot about them over the years, about how to prune them, trim broken branches and their value in the environment and for human use. He recalled, when we did our family legacy project, that he had climbed most of the trees on his parents' farm -- the farm that he would one day take over with his young wife. And so I grew up, seeing him take care of the land, the buildings and the trees, and us.

The day of the service, I looked around seeing all the little great grandchildren, who at 1, 2, 3 and 4 years of age would likely not remember much about him. The idea came the following week to write a story about my father -- their great grandfather -- so they might have some way of connecting with his life as they grew up. The story was intended for them.

The story went through many revisions, with feedback from my in-person writers' group, an online Revision group and then my own group again. I received many positive affirmations on the value of the story and also suggestions to make the book stronger, one of them being following the seasons. That was one of the best recommendations. So thank you to members of my local critique group and the online Revision group, for the excellent offerings of time and consideration of my story.

IMG_20160517_210341.jpg The tree with its tag and one of my great nephews. This photo by M. Pfaff.

Thumbnail image for 13254508_10156950599670436_3886160185566086026_n.jpg photo by S. Smith

In the foreground, the tiny tree with its memorial tag. Background, the cross that my father created with fallen logs from the farm woodlot, for the church for Lent and Easter services.

I had connected with a graphic designer long before this project came to fruition. Maja Wizor was excited about the possibilites the story presented and agreed to do the illustrations for me. I had the first copies ready for my family in early January 2017. Innovative Press in Millbank did a wonderful job printing my book. My illustrator was pleased to have her copies too.

Seeing that first book brought tears to my eyes -- another memory of Dad to add to all the good ones I already had. And I wondered how he'd feel about being a part of my book.

My sisters bought books for their adult children and grandchildren too. Friends wanted copies too, in fact I received such encouragment that I decided to also bring out a general market edition the following June. It happened with the assistance of Angel Hope Publishing in Drayton, Ontario.

It's been quite a journey from the original idea to the finished product and I thank my sister Joan and nephew Dan for the early suggestions and encouragement they offered, to my illustrator, Maja, my publisher of the general market edition, Glynis Belec and her trusty assistant, Amanda Belec. I also appreciated the promotion by the Tavistock Gazette editor, Bill Gladding and later Helen Lammers-Helps, who wrote articles for Ontario Farmer and Oxford Review that took my book to a wider audience still. It takes a lot of people to make a book.

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout.jpgcover photo by A. Belec

On the first anniversary of my father's death, the pastor at Trinity Lutheran invited me to read the story, Harry's Trees, as part of the children's sermon. I was truly honoured to do that.

Unless otherwise mentioned, photos are copyright of C. Wilker, owner of this blog