“This is my dream come true,” Haley comments slowly and with awe. We are all looking out the window of our van at snowdrifts that tower over us like giants. The Northeast apparently hasn’t recovered from the winter storms and we find ourselves in a scene straight out of “Frozen.”
A few minutes later, we pull up the driveway to my grandparent’s home. Only, for the first time in my life, my grandpa won’t be there.
Even though it’s below freezing, the kids beg to go outside and play and I follow them out to the backyard.
I love my grandparent’s backyard. I think it’s the most beautiful thing in all of Marlborough, Connecticut. My Grandpa, after building a home for his family with his bare hands, planted fruit trees and cultivated them until he had a full-out orchard.
My childhood glows with memories of this orchard. We played, we climbed, we ate, we laughed, we enjoyed the fruit of his labor. Literally.
At the funeral, many stories are told of my grandpa’s life. The main themes are hard work, sacrifice, endurance, and patience. The best grandpa quote shared is, “Time will still pass whether or not you plant a tree.” This generation that my grandfather was a piece of, this generation that is slowly leaving us, radiates with lessons I must learn.
I pause so I can learn them well.
On the drive home Colby and I talk about this and try to write a book about it together.
“In an orchard stands a tree, surrounded by the fruit of many seasons,” he begins.
I begin to choke up. We never finish it.
The fruit has been born of diligence, perseverance, and love. The fruit…this family…we all are who we are and where we are today because of how sacrificially Grandpa provided for his family. I am grateful and forever indebted to this tree. I am grateful to have called him my Grandpa.