life-long bond
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They Planted a Tree

by KJ Hannah Greenberg


They planted a tree. Those kids even watered it… a bit, using the tin can one of ‘em had found in their parents’ tool shed. Thereafter, they got busy taking turns pretending to ride rodeo or motorcycle on the garden mower parked therein.


Ralph screamed at ‘em… told ‘em to step away from the rake, the spade and the wound garden hose. His program, the one for men and women of “other sorts” of mental well being, had let out early on account of St. Patrick’s Day. He meant to safeguard the family compound.


So, they scattered, climbing, finally, into their backyard treehouse, ‘cept for Johnny, Ralph’s favorite brother, who told Ralph the tree planted in the strip ‘tween the sidewalk and street was a gift for him. Ralph would have to fight bugs and tinkling dogs, would have to water it and pull weeds.


Many years later, when Johnny, ever a ne’er-do-well bachelor, was carted off to veteran-sponsored retirement home, the locals came for Ralph. Sure, they found roaches, mice droppings and ceiling-high piles of dirty laundry. What those folks never counted on, though, was Ralph hugging his tree.



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