Arbor Day Celebration Tree Essays Entries

The first Tree Essay contest of the Wilmore Arbor Day Celebration has been completed. There were ten entries, with three being selected as prize winners of a $25 gift certificate each for use at local merchants. And for this first event, small gift cards to The Local Confectionary were given to the other contestants.

Judging was done by two student volunteers from the Honors Program of Asbury University. All entries were coded so as not to reveal the names.

Our three winners were: Aureol Aureol, Ella Kamau, and Lynette Wheeler.

A Furry Tree Story
I was raised in England, and a thick line of enormous trees separated our big old home from the neighbor’s. Daffodils and crocuses bloomed, and bluebells too. I was taught to love those old chums and to watch for seasonal changes. Pussy Willows were especially intriguing with their furry flower capsules.

I married and moved to the United states, where it was not so common to see old homes surrounded with huge trees. Some towns had tree-lined boulevards, but the larger trees were to be found mainly in State or National Parks. How come? Mostly because it takes hundreds of years for trees to reach maturity.

Some years ago, I did a favor for another British family. They offered me a tree sapling as a thank you gift. I searched the local nurseries, and bought a small Pussy Willow, remembering the lovely furry buds I had encountered in my childhood. I planted it myself, and nurtured it to young adulthood.

After a few years I moved to another part of the same town, and thought of my pussy willow. By now, I had changed its name to Wussy Pillow! And Wussy Pillow it remains.

I asked the new home owners if I could cut some branches and twigs off my Wussy Pillow – I called it pruning – and they were gracious and allowed me to do as much cutting as I wished. I stuck some of twigs into water and a couple of months later I had rooted twiglets. At the right time

I dug holes in my front lawn and planted those pencil thin rooted twigs. It is now 4 years later and five of them have managed to grow into healthy plants.

My home is only 60 or 70 years old here in Wilmore, but one day it could be a house surrounded by larger trees. Wussy Pillows.
Aureol Aureol

My Special Tree
I grew up in Wilmore during simpler times. I guess it was the summer before second grade that we moved to the red brick house at 402 Akers Drive. This house was owned by the college at the time. Since my dad worked for the physical plant, we were able to move into this house. I call this my Fun Years House because it was here that I gained a lot of new friends and explored a lot of new hobbies.

One of my new fun activities during that time was climbing trees. The house only had one tree in the yard, but it was a big tree and a very special tree to me. I loved to climb this tree, and it was so easy to get up to my sitting spot. It had low branches. I would just grab on to the lowest one and take steps up until I hoisted myself onto the first branch. It had a great branch where I could lay back so comfortably. It was like it was made to do that – be like a lounge chair. It was so comfortable that you could almost fall asleep up there. I loved to lay up there and read books. I remember through the years reading Misty of Chincoteague, Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Pippi Longstocking, and Beverly Cleary books like Rigsby.

It also was a great vantage point to watch people drive by or walk by on the street. I was told, that as a young child, I was extremely curious. From this tree, I was rather well camouflaged from the people in the street. As I child, I used to love to watch people. I could just hide up in my tree, watch people, and no one knew I was up there.

After we moved out of the house, for some reason, the tree was cut down.

But I’m so thankful that I had that tree during my time at the Fun Years House. I wish that all kids could have a tree like that.
Sherry Bierley Davis

The Old Oak Tree
A bright sunny day several years ago I traveled with my husband slowly down Blondo Street on my way to the huge old oak tree.

We soon made a right turn and proceeded down Benson Garden Boulevard. I am remembering all the trees lining our way. But the tree for me was the awesome oak tree that was in my front yard.

We made a slight turn and started up 78th street where I grew up.

Finally, we approached my childhood home.

But I don’t see the great oak tree.

It had stood in our sloping front yard with the long rope swing hanging from one of its highest and mightiest branches — that tree that had provided thousands of flying adventures for me and my friends.

And when we tired of swinging, we sat under the grand old tree, cooled and comforted by the shade it provided.

But I was saddened to see that the giant old tree was gone.

We pause and I can still see my friends and myself swinging high as we could go. I also climbed my wonderful tree, clear to the top, very proud of myself, until my mom saw me and insisted I come back down.

Of course her threat was that I was going to fall and break my neck.

The grand old tree is gone, but it exists in my memories of long ago.
Jeneane Denger

Bopah’s Apple Trees
Bopah is the name my brother and I call our grandfather.

My grandfather passed away two years ago, but his apple trees are still living. There are three apple trees all in a row at the back of my grandmother’s house.

My grandmother’s house is far away. We are super excited whenever we get to go visit her. In the autumn, the ripe apples fall to the ground and rot so we have to pick them right away. I’m pretty tall so I get to grab the high apples on the ladder. Sometimes I have to reach way up and twist a stem to get a particularly finicky apple. Once all the apples are picked they get tossed in a big tub so they can be taken out when we need them.

My grandmother will make all sorts of things from the apples: apple butter, apple sauce, dried apple rings, and one time she even made apple syrup!

I like to help her in the kitchen. Around Thanksgiving, a lot of my family will gather at my grandmother’s house and we will crank the apple cider press to make the most delicious apple cider. I love my Bopah’s apple trees a lot!

Trees are really important to our universe. Imagine all the memories I would have missed out on if there were no apple trees in my grandmother’s back yard! We need trees to breathe, to build from, and to provide food. I hope you love trees as much as I love my Bopah’s apple trees. Without them where would we be?
Ella Kamau

Ship Tree
Ship Tree was in our backyard before we moved to Wilmore.
We lived on cul-de-sac in Lexington. There was a stream behind our house, and Ship Tree grew next to the stream. Ship Tree was a wide branching tree that looked kind of like a ship. We hung a piece of cloth on a branch to be a swing. Ship tree was a very good climbing tree. We could climb so high that we could see over the houses. I wish we could have transplanted Ship Tree to our backyard in Wilmore.
Ian Kamau

The Special Tree
Many people don’t realize it, but those little things could sometimes be a big part of your heart. I am going to tell you about my unique tree, my very special tree. My tree was the first part of my life when moved to Wilmore in 2014 The tree was in my backyard.

At first, I didn’t think much about it but as the seasons passed away then the years, we did many activities with the tree. In the spring, we made plastic eggs and hooked them up to the tree.

Some of them we hid candy, and some rocks. I loved how kids would try to grab eggs to see if there was rock or candy.
Another example is in the summertime. We would place a hammock next to the tree and cool over the Shade. Sometimes, kids will climb the tree!

My mom would sometimes worry about that. We would algo make fun snow figures next to the tree in the winter and play with the leaves in the fall This is a special tree to me. I cannot imagine what I would have done without it. Has there been a special tree in your life? What makes it special?
Ella Lee

My Special Tree
When I was a child growing up on the mission field in Belgaum, India, I was surrounded by exotic trees. A grove of mango trees grew just beyond our back yard. Beside the servant’s quarters a banana tree grew its fruit upside

A lacy-leaved tamarind tree stood nearby, with its fruit growing in fat pods. Tamarind fruit is green and horribly sour before it ripens. It was always a race to see who would get to the ripe tamarinds first – the
missionary kids or the monkeys! But my favorite of all were the banyans.

The banyan is India’s national tree, with large glossy green leaves and roots that grow down from the branches to form yet more trees. The roots were great for swinging on and pretending we were Tarzan of the Apes.

A pair of them grew not far outside our kitchen window. The milkman came regularly with his big black water buffalo and milked her under the right-hand tree under the watchful eye of my mother, who made sure he used clean jugs and didn’t water down the milk. The left-hand tree was our climbing tree. Mom would warn us sternly, “DO NOT climb the banyan tree. There could be cobras up there.”

Did we listen? Absolutely not! My big sister and I would happily climb up to the first big fork of the tree and sit there for hours, spinning stories and eating snacks we hauled up from the ground in bags attached to ropes.

When two of my sisters and I had the privilege of returning to India 50 years later, we went back to the mission compound in Belgaum. I was very fearful that those banyan trees had been cut down, but I need not have worried. They were still there, bigger than ever.
Sheila S. Lovell

My Favorite Tree
Those of you who know me realize I have too many trees in my yard. I have a large maple in the front yard, a beautiful oak tree that shades my screened in porch in the backyard, and a few other large trees that were on
the property when we bought it.

However, in the almost 16 years we have lived on our property, many volunteer seedlings have sprouted and
matured. I have also planted seedlings-some left over from Arbor Day events, gifts from friends, and trees we planted in celebrations of events in our lives such as anniversaries or in memory of a family member.

Many have grown into sizable trees, and it gives me great pleasure to live among “friends.” Despite all my trees, there are many trees I admire in other locations.

One is a weeping beech tree in a yard in Piqua, Ohio where my parents lived. It was very large; the branches touched the ground, and there was a large open space under the canopy. As often as I could when
visiting my parents, I made a visit to the tree and absorbed its beauty.

I also imagined what fun children could have making a hideout, a playhouse, or having a tea party under the canopy. Since my parents died several years ago, I have not seen the tree, but I hope it is still there. The next time I go to Piqua, visiting it will be part of my to do list.
Mary Miller

My Favorite Tree
My favorite tree is generally considered a weed.

But I love the black walnut tree. It is magnificent, especially compared to the other five or so tiny trees on our farm. It has graceful branches that droop towards the ground, and its leaves flutter invitingly towards the shade.

The shade is very welcome, particularly under a hot Kentucky sun. Not only does this tree refresh us
with its shade, it also is another giving tree. Wildlife is attracted to it.

Birds sing from its branches, while monarch butterflies cluster on its branches.

The butterflies made a pretty picture, the bright dots of orange against a sea of green leaves. I do not know why they were there, but I thought that the tree looked especially magnificent and regal at that moment, sheltering the monarchs. The black walnut tree also had a history.

When we first saw the tree, we discovered barbed wire in the bark. We realized that the wire
must be cutting into the tree’s bark. Luckily, we could cut the wire off without hurting the bark. The tree was also bare of bark on one side. We supposed that it was from lightning. This only made us more in awe than ever.

The tree had not only survived, but thrived, its branches drooping with the weight of its nuts. There seemed to be a message here of hope and resilience. Though I have only known about my favorite black walnut tree for less than a year, I know that my admiration and gratitude for this tree will only grow.
Katherine Penner

Tony’s Tree
Tony and his wife were born in Czechoslovakia, a country that fell to the Nazis in the late 1930s and later to Communism.

They lost everything during those years and came to the U.S. seeking a better life. In Chicago they owned and operated a successful bakery before finally retiring to five acres in the country. It was there that we met them when we built a home next to theirs.

Tony had a reverence for his adopted country and his land. He treasured every plant and tree in his gardens and orchards, and he was generous. I often found a basket of apples, cucumbers, squash, or cherries on my back porch, depending on the season.

But the best gift he gave us was a twelve-inch Scotch pine that he planted on the side of our house.

“I found it in my yard. It needed a home,” he told me in his deep European accent.

It was the only pine on our property and we called it Tony’s tree.

When Tony died a few years later, it left a void. I missed seeing that solitary figure strolling about his property. I missed his wrinkled face and throaty laugh.

I missed him calling me “young lady.” But on the side of the house stood a pine that quickly grew to more than 30 feet tall and remained green and vibrant, a living memorial to a special person.

Tony lost a lot in his life, but never his optimism. He believed in kindness, hard work, the beauty of nature and what the earth could give back. He was thankful and appreciated what he had. Lessons to remember.

I will always remember Tony for what he did and what he was, and for his simple act of planting a tree.
Linette Wheeler


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