Pappaw, The Husband’s paternal grandfather, never threw anything away.

As a mechanic and farmer, it was impossible to convince him that what most people would consider to be garbage, let’s say the ancient, dust-covered, treadmill that wore a spider web shall and had a squirrel’s nest under the buckled belt and lived on his crowded porch.

Something of a Hoarder show candidate before that reality ever hit television, he was convinced he could use castoffs for something handy.  As he was brilliant with tools and could fix anything with a motor, this was too often true to lend credibility to any foolish soul outlandish enough to suggest he declutter things.

As an in-law and a wiper, I am certain you can appreciate the tension each time I visited the farm.  It was a front of Windex that collided with a Force of Smudge, in  other words, a complete festival of futility.

Happily, we delighted in each other and it was a constant source of banter between us. He’d complain that I don’t know how to sit still and begged me would I please stop wiping stuff and I’d chide back I’d comply as soon as he’d stop making messes.

Mutually loving and genuinely warm, it was nonetheless a stand-off.

It should have come as no surprise to me then that one of the things that journeyed home with us after his funeral was a barren stump in a dry pot of thirsty dirt.

Auntie  J insisted that we take it back with us and that Pappaw would have wanted it in our new home.

A barren stump in a dry pot of thirsty dirt.

I was touched?

The gesture so charged irony with hilarity that I was all in.

So I watered it.
Often.
and faithfully.

A barren stump in a dry pot of thirsty dirt.

And as I’m convinced only Pappaw surly believed that it would,

It grew
and grew,
and grew,
Just like The Giving Tree.

In the end, that hunk of stump propagated four planters of towering tall, vibrant trees, the same number we bore children.

As some of you know, it is illegal to transport plants into Grapefruit. I was obedient and gifted my most precious plants to dear friends as keepsakes of how our families and homes have forever intersected through living, vital, transplantable relationships of the heart.

98% faithful.

I snuck one planter across the border.

A barren stump in a dry pot of thirsty dirt.

Look!

We named him Sprout.
I claim him as fruit.
The fulfillment of a promise
there’s a place here for us.

I look at his tender shoots as fragile as a newborn next to a stump as crooked and stooped over as an centurion’s spine and see bookends.

Sprout’s our sabbatical here all new and floppy. We have to support his little head and touch him like novice parents afraid they’re going to break the baby.

Stump’s a reminder of our community and home there. His roots sink deep. He’s anchored and stable. Nothing can blow him apart or knock him down. He’s strong, established and seasoned.

He’s got a Legacy.

I was a dead bulb when you met me.

A barren stump in a dry pot of thirsty dirt.

You sent me forth more like Stump with roots I can sink deep wherever He is.

You helped me change our family tree.

Well baby I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew ya
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah
Hallelujah!