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De living tree

De living tree

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This week my thoughts are drawn from Shel Silverstien’s book, “The Giving Tree”. Ah tale about ah relationship between ah “all foh himself” youth-man and ah selfless tree.

Ah find ah lot ah de books dat are written with messages foh children are better suited foh us parents. In de story, de tree became an adoptive parent, providing everyting de lad wanted, sometimes with great self-sacrifice.{{more}}

De Tree provided him wid shade and shelter, sum-way to swing, fruits to eat and even to sell and get pocket change. When he needed ah home, branches from de tree were cut to mek timber to build his house. Spoilt like ah b-Rat, Brokes wuss dan Santa, his final request was ah boat of his own to sail around de world.

Not wanting to see him unhappy, de tree, after giving its fruits, leaves and branches to de boy, decided to let him have its trunk to mek timber to build his boat. He cut down de tree got his timber; he leaves de tree now ah stump, and off to sea he went. Many years later, the boy, now an old man, returns. The tree still ah stump but wishing it still had something to offer, sadly says: “I’m sorry, boy… but I have nothing left to give you.”

Tired and dejected the boy replies: “I do not need much now, just a quiet place to sit and rest.” The ever-caring tree then says, “Well, an old tree stump is a good place for sitting and resting. Come, boy, sit down and rest.” The boy obliges and the tree is very happy.

DE BLACK WILLOW

Ah love to think of our Christmas Tree wid all de lights and decorations, as ah Giving Tree wid its gifts which are all symbolic of Peace and Love. This reminds me dat my lickle youth-man and his sister will be decorating de lickle artificial Christmas tree dis weekend.

We’ve had dat tree foh years and strange enough, we use just one string ah lights, but every year yuh will hear dem say “Mummy and Daddy we ready to turn on de lights”.

Under dat Tree will be de gifts, de symbols of Peace and Love. Ah uses to look forward to de official lighting ah de National Christmas Tree, the Black Willow Tree on the Reigate property now First St Vincent Bank. It was ah Christmas Tree wid ah big difference, it was shaped like a bulb, very unlike the regular cone shaped North American pine, but just as inspiring and light lifting, ah good symbol.

Ah not even sure dat de tree is ah member ah de Willow family, the Willow Tree grows to between 30 to 50 feet high, while some trees can reach as tall as 140 feet. Our Willow Tree was never more dan 15 feet, even though it has been around foh donkey years, since the occupants ah de property, Clifford and Trevor Edwards were boys; ah not saying how many years dat, if yuh really want to know, when yuh meet dem yuh could ask dem dey age.

De Nine Morning Committee had unofficially claimed possessory title of the tree and named it the National Christmas Tree. It took de late Kenneth Ash and his team of electricians a full week to complete de task of stringing de tree wid ah few thousand lights, but when de switch was turned on, de surroundings at Heritage Square were transformed into de Christmas mood. Christmas Lights enthusiasts uses to include de National Christmas Tree as one of their major stopping points.

So when it was announced dat de National Bank was going to construct a new headquarters on the site, concerns were raised about de fate ah de tree. “Nothing to worry about” dey said: “dat tree is not just another plant, it has become ah part ah Vincy Christmas Tradition.” But as de building construction progressed, it became obvious dat de National Christmas Tree was in de way, and gradually de wukers began to do dey own unprofessional pruning job. De Nine Morning Committee cannot be faulted foh trying to preserve one of our natural inheritance, dat’s what Heritage Square is all about. That Black Willow Tree was like de jewel at Christmas in Kingstown at nights. It is now ah disaster, maybe not like de Giving Tree, but it would mek ah good place foh customers to sit and rest dey legs.

And wid dat, is gone ah gone again.

One Love Bassy

Bassy Alexander is a land surveyor, folklorist and social commentator.

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