THE TROUBLE TREE

TROUBLE TREE

My grandfather was the most joyful, positive, fun-loving person that I have ever known. When you were with him in his house everyone was laughing and smiling all the time. We all loved him and being with him because he made us all feel wonderful, happy, and alive. No matter how upset or depressed you were when you entered his house he had you smiling, laughing and feeling like you were the most special person on earth. When I was a child I was always pestering my parents to be allowed to go to his house and be with him.

One day, I met my grandfather by chance as he was walking home from work. He had a rough day. His car conked out and he was not able to repair it. The auto shop picked it up and he was told it was going to be an expensive repair. Earlier in the day his best friend had a massive heart attack and was in critical condition in the hospital. Additionally, he was told his work hours were being cut back because of the lack of orders. He told me all this and then he walked in stony silence frowning the rest of the way. It was the first time I had seen my grandfather angry and depressed. I was shocked and unable to speak. I couldn’t believe this was my grandfather.

As we approached his house, he paused for a few moments at a small tree, closed his eyes and touched the tips of the branches with both hands. I stood silently by his side as he gently touched  five or six branches. Finally, he said “Let’s go in.”

After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged my grandmother and gave her a big kiss. He laughed, tousled my hair, gave me a playful punch, hugged me and told me how proud he was of  me.

Afterward, I asked him why he had stopped at the tree and touched the branches. “Oh,” he laughed, “that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles, but one thing for sure, troubles don’t belong in my house with my wife and family. So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning, I pick them up again.” “Funny thing is,” he laughed, “when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”

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