A Plant for a Plant

He got mine. I got his.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY TIM FOLEY

My name is Haleigh Halter and I am submitting a story to you on behalf of my grandmother Rose. She told me this story several years ago and always wanted to write it down and submit it to GreenPrints. So I have done it for her.

Woman Cutting Tree

A couple of years ago, I walked through the dining room and saw my husband, Bill, chopping away at something. I pulled the curtains back to get a better view—and to my dismay he was chopping away at my pink hydrangea bush!

I opened the window and yelled, “What do you think you are doing?!”

He hollered back, “That hydrangea bush is getting too close to the air conditioner, and it’s not getting the circulation it needs!”

I grimly walked back to the house, and as I did, I had the perfect idea.

Heck, there was a good two feet in between the bush and that air conditioner unit. I have always struggled to get a pink hydrangea to grow. All my previous hydrangeas always turned out to be shades of blue and purple. So I’d become quite fond of this one.

Crying, I walked out to look. It lay in shambles. Barely a little sprout stuck out of the ground. I grimly walked back to the house, and as I did, I had the perfect idea.

An English walnut tree had plagued our yard for years and years. It had a diameter the size of a two-liter soda bottle. It refused to grow, its trunk was busted, and webworms made their messy homes in it every year. Bill always refused to cut it down, so I planned to get my revenge by chopping it down myself. An eye for an eye and a tree for a tree, if you will.

I headed to the barn and found a hatchet. I stood next to that tree, swung back, and started hacking. My son who lives down the road came by. He burst out laughing and started taking pictures. He asked if I wanted him to get a chainsaw, but I stubbornly refused. I finished the job late that afternoon. Bill never said a word about it.

Till the next day. Then he told me I had to complete my job and dig out the stump and roots so he wouldn’t have to mow around it. So I went back to work snipping, cutting, pulling, and digging. After two hours, I hadn’t gotten very far—and I was exhausted. I realized that, at 70 years old, I might have gotten in a little over my head. Eventually my husband must have started to feel bad about it all. He got his tractor and a chain and helped me pull the rest of the tree out.

That following year my pink hydrangea grew back and bloomed all over. It was absolutely stunning.

I can’t say the same for that English walnut tree.


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