The tree on our front lawn was beautiful. Papa loved it and said it was the reason he bought our house. When Papa came home from work and walked up the front lawn, he always stopped to admire the tree. He believed the tree recognized him and smiled at him as he approached it.
When we were small, Papa would put us high up on the trunk and let us jump into his arms, which we did without being afraid, knowing he would always catch us. Sometimes he let us hang from one of the branches and let go, Papa catching us just before we reached the ground.
It was a warm summer afternoon and we were playing on the lawn. A gentle shower began to fall and we laughed as the drops splashed upon our faces.
The wind which had been as gentle as the rain, suddenly became angry and we saw fast moving black clouds in the sky. There was a loud clap of thunder and a flash of lightning. The clouds blocked out the sun, day turned to night and heavy rain fell. Momma shouted to us from the front door to quickly come in. We ran toward her and by the time we reached the house; we were soaked to the skin. Once inside, we ran to the front window to watch the storm. The wind grew stronger and Papa’s tree twisted and turned with the wind. It seemed to be fighting for its life and looking to us for help that we were incapable of giving. Then the tree, as if it decided to fight no longer, surrendered, and with a sigh, toppled over. We looked at the fallen tree, hoping our tears would somehow pick it up. Our tears were still wet when we saw Papa parking his car at the curb. He got out and as he walked up the front lawn, he stopped as he always did to look at the tree.
When he turned toward the house, there was sadness all over his face.
He came inside and said, “I will not let the tree die. Get dressed and follow me.” He took us into the garage and gave each of us a shovel. We went to the fallen tree and, pointing to the shallow hole the tree made, he told us to dig. We began digging. The rain and wind did not stop and soon we were soaked. When the hole was big enough, Papa told us to stop. He then tied a large rope around the tree, stretched it over the trunk of a tree at the curb, and pulled on the rope with all his might. His clothes were so wet they stuck to his skin and we could see the strain and bulging of his muscles. Slowly, the tree began to rise. Then, with one last tug of the rope, the tree tipped into the hole, and was upright. Papa came over, called to us and we shoveled all the dirt back into the hole. When it was finished, we stepped back and looked at the standing tree with Papa at its side.
The wind and rain stopped as suddenly as it started. There was a break in the clouds and the sun appeared with its rays directly on the tree and Papa. Looking at the tree and Papa beside it, it seemed to us he was as tall and straight as the tree with his roots planted deep into the earth. We knew that as long as Papa was alive, if life caused us to stumble or fall, Papa would be there to pick us up and everything would be all right.