Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Mystery of the Apple Tree

As I walked the paths around Champoeg I happened 
upon an apple tree growing near the 
river and instantly my mind went to my parents
(for they are never far from my thoughts
and heart these days...)
and a day in my life I remember very vividly.

When I was a young girl,
perhaps around 8 or 10, my Dad was
clearing out some of the woods around our 
house. He put his head in the door,
munching on a little apple (his favorite snack),
and said casually that he had found a 
wild apple tree. 
My Mom tossed her apron on the table, 
called us kid's from wherever we were
spending a lazy summer day reading, 
with that particular excitement in her
voice that meant some wonderful discovery.
We followed her out to where my Dad 
had been working and found this little
 apple tree which we had never noticed
there before. It looked quite old
and very bedraggled but it had a few
little wormy apples dangling here and there.
My Mom's voice took on her story telling
pitch and she said
"Kids, what if this tree was planted by Johnny Appleseed?
Do you think he came this far west?!"
We all began to chatter telling what we had learned 
about Johnny Appleseed in school
and speculating on whether this might be 
one of his trees. Then Mom suggested
that we look for a special mark
somewhere on the tree that would indicate
he had indeed planted it.
To our great disappointment we found
nothing and began to lose interest in the search
 when Dad passed by and gave that wry smile
he often gave to Mom when she
was being fanciful and said
"It's just a wild apple tree, Martha,
from a bird dropping a seed."
Mom gave him that look that said
"why do you always have to be so practical?"
and we trooped back to the house.

The great thing about parents like we had
is that they both truly loved history,
Dad the history of Christianity
and Mom, history of all kinds, especially
American and Finnish. 
History was exciting! It was worth crying over
and retelling many times, it was more than 
words on a page, it was the best part of 
learning, and that is why when I walk
along a river and see an apple tree
I think of who planted it and when
and of my parents and how 
instilling in a child excitement over an
apple tree carries with it the excitement
every child should have
about the great country we live in.


  1. I like that story.. thanks for sharing!

  2. Never heard that story before, KAren! Did he leave the tree there? We have several wild apple trees at our house. Some of them have good apples. One tree makes hundreds of apples every year, but they are inedible. Believe me, I tried everything, but no amount of sugar or cooking or juicing could make any thing worth eating!

  3. I had forgotten all about that ... thanks so much for the reminder :))))) Love ya _ Faith

  4. What a neat story! I could just picture their exchange. :) I can even see that twinkly smile Grampa gave her over Grams flights of fancy! Thanks for sharing! (I'm hearing so many neat stories about your family now..from mom especially! Loving it! )


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