“We lost the chestnut tree.”
My sister delivered the most important news first. On Sunday we had last talked on our cell phones, and she let me know then that they had lost power at our father’s house, courtesy of the freak Halloween Nor’easter that caught Connecticut by surprise this past weekend, dumping over a foot of heavy wet snow on most of the state. Dad had a cold, and they had the wood stove going trying to keep him warm. Then her cell phone went dead and I heard nothing further.
This afternoon, two days later, she finally was able to make it down to her office and call me from work. They have their power back now, but still no land line or cell phone service. Beverly says I won’t believe the damage up there, although I am seeing many news reports on TV. Apparently the state lost more trees in this storm than we did during Hurricane Irene. With the wood stove they were able to keep Dad’s room at 70°F (21°C), although like many elderly ones, he doesn’t feel comfortable until the temperature is about 80°F (27°C).
When my father was a young man – he is now 89 years old – he found the chestnut sapling in Pennsylvania and brought it home with him, transplanted it in Connecticut soil, and nurtured it to a full-grown, gorgeous tree. When his short-term memory started disappearing several years ago, he would tell me the story over and over, every time I went up for a visit, which used to be several times a week. He looked forward to seeing it outside his window every morning, and was very attached to it, his special tree.
In June of 2010 it bloomed! A lovely scent filled the air. I’ll never forget it.
We used to decorate it with flower garlands for Midsummer.
And now the Halloween Nor’easter of 2011 has uprooted it. Beverly reports that when Dad discovered what had happened he simply said, “This is demoralizing.” I cried when she told me. The storm also took the tops off several oak trees and the yard and the roads are a mess. Poor trees. They’ve taken such a beating this year…