"Once there was a tree..... and she loved a little boy. And every day the boy would come and he would gather her leaves and make them into crowns and play king of the forest. He would climb up her trunk and swing from her branches and eat apples. And they would play hide-and-go-seek. And when he was tired, he would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree.......very much. And the tree was happy.
But time went by. And the boy grew older. And the tree was often alone. Then one day the boy came to the tree and the tree said "Come, Boy, come and climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and eat apples and play in my shade and be happy"
"I am too big to climb and play", said the boy. "I want to buy things and have fun. I want some money. Can you give me some money?" "I'm sorry," said the tree, "but I have no money, I have only leaves and apples. Take my apples, Boy, and sell them in the city. Then you will have money and you will be happy." And so the boy climbed up the tree and gathered her apples and carried them away. And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time.. and the tree was sad. And then one day the boy came back and the tree shook with joy and she said, "Come, Boy, climb up my trunk and swing from my branches and be happy." "I am too busy to climb trees," said the boy. "I want a house to keep me warm," he said. "I want a wife and I want children, and so I need a house. Can you give me a house?" "I have no house," said the tree. "The forest is my house, but you may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy." And the boy cut off her branches and carried them away to build his house. And the tree was happy.
But the boy stayed away for a long time. And when he came back, the tree was so happy she could hardly speak. "Come, Boy," she whispered, "come and play." "I am too old and sad to play," said the boy. "I want a boat that take me far away from here. Can you give me a boat?" "Cut down my trunk and make a boat," said the tree. "Then you can sail away...... and be happy." And so the boy cut down her trunk and made a boat and sailed away. And the tree was happy....But not really.
And after a long time the boy came back again. "I am sorry, Boy," said the tree,"but I have nothing left to give you----" "My apples are gone." "My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy. "My branches are gone," said the tree. "You cannot swing on them------" "I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy. "My trunk is gone," said the tree. "You cannot climb--------" "I am too tired to climb," said the boy. "I am sorry," sighed the tree. "I wish that I could give you something------ but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump." "I don't need very much now," said the boy. "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired." "Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did. And the tree was happy."-Shell Silverstein (The Giving Tree)
The Giving Tree is such a simple book, yet it means so much to me at this stage of my life.
Upon looking back on my relationship with my Gama---It's amazing how much of an impact this book has made on my life. This the the first book I ever remember receiving (and oddly enough it was from her).
My Gama was my very own "Giving Tree". Just as the tree, she too has provided for me during ALL the stages of my life---she provided me with a place to play, a place to eat and learn to cook, a place for me to seek refuge and strength, a place of support and comfort, a place of guidance and a place of love. And just as the tree, in the final days of her life---though she was weak and tired and didn't feel like she had anything left to offer---she provided me with a smile and a memory that will last a lifetime.
Because I always have to leave you with a recipe, I will leave you today with one of hers. As I'm sure she is in Heaven whipping up a mean meal...and ringing the dinner bell for all those there with her to come to the table.
Baked Grits Casserole
1 Cup Grits
8 oz. Cheddar Cheese
1 c. Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Pound Sausage
Cook Grits and add salt. Grate Cheese, stir in 3/4 reserving 1/4 to put on top. Beat eggs, add milk to eggs then to grits and cheese. Brown Sausage. Add all ingredients to grits and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Top with cheese.