My sweet and kind neighbors took up a donation for my Dad shortly after his death. They gathered funds in order to give me money to plant a tree in his memory.
I immediately thought of a cherry tree, because as a boy, Dad told me that he planted a cherry tree in the orchard. The picture here shows him picking cherries from his tree. I talked to my brother about it, and he seemed hesitant. A cherry is a good idea, but they require some maintenance and usually the birds get the cherries, not us. I asked if he had a suggestion. Then he launched into a story about how he was on a job with Dad once and Dad just pulled the truck over to the side of the road and said: "Come on, I want to show you something" (in typical Dad fashion). They lumbered out of the truck and across the road, and down a driveway to someone's back yard. Dave said that he remembers a lady standing at her kitchen door throwing daggers from her eyes at these two strangers walking through her yard. She eventually recognized Dad, who had done a digging job for her neighbor. Dad wanted to show Dave the tree in her back yard. It was a giant, tall and straight, and the most perfect tree my brother had ever seen. Dad obviously thought a lot of it too. The lady said it was a Redwood Tree. Growing right here, in western Pa.
So, we sought a Redwood tree for Dad. I didn't have any idea where to even buy something that I didn't even know grew in this area. We went to a tree farm, very near where I live, and asked the very knowledgeable guy who works there. He said: "Sure, that's a Dawn Redwood, take my golf cart and head over to section 16C, there are some in pots around 17D as well. We zipped off in the cart looking for a Redwod. Here is the tree we found for Dad.
I did some research on this tree and apparently there are only 3 surviving species of Redwood, this is the smallest. It will still grow to 200 feet, and may grow as much as 2 feet per year. It will live a very long time. People thought that this tree was extinct until 1941, when a stand of these trees was found on a remote hillside in China. There is a nursery in North Carolina that specializes just in preserving this tree.
The top photo shows my brother, Dave, and my 4 kids at the helm of my Dad's backhoe planting this glorious tree. The tree was planted at the crest of the hill at the farm, and it shelters my Dad's favorite dog's grave.
I felt like so many things came together to make this the perfect tree for my Dad. He must have helped us put all of these pieces together.