Monday Morning Musings

Posted on October 7, 2019 under Monday Morning Musings with one comment

Luke’s Tree


I don’t know much about chestnut trees. I climbed the big one in the back yard of our house near the old CJFX radio station building many, many times in my youth. Every year around this time, the chestnuts would mature and the prickly objects would fall to the ground. But like an angry dog whose bark is often worse than its bite, the prickly outer covering, once removed, reveals a smooth, warm object with a pleasant aroma. With a nail or some other sharp object, holes were made in the chestnuts and once a piece of string was passed through the holes, you had a homemade necklace. Simple pleasures. Simpler times.

And why this fit of nostalgia? Well, most of you know that it takes very little to get me rambling on about the good old days. The other day I received a picture of a bunch of ripened chestnuts. Along with the picture was this message: “Hi Len. The chestnut tree grew chestnuts for the first time this year.” Now, most times, a declaration like this would hardly make my heart flutter but on this occasion, I had a lump in my throat.

Seventeen years ago, we lived in the country in “Upper Cloverville”. We had chickens, tried our hand at gardening, and heated our house with wood that I joyfully split near our shed. We had four teenagers at the time and the constant driving to far flung areas of the county for dates and the like, convinced us that we should move back to town. We sold our house to a young couple. Before the closing date, a tragic accident took place not far from our home. A young 13 year old boy died in a car accident. We knew the family.

We decided to plant a small seedling on our property in memory of this young boy. One of the unwritten parts of the sales agreement was that the new owners would nurture this tree. Seventeen years later, Luke’s tree bore fruit and produced its first crop of chestnuts.

From all accounts, Luke Berthiaume was an amazing young boy. Shortly before his death he wrote the following in his journal: “Always remember to have a good day.” Loved ones are never forgotten. The chestnut tree stands in his honour.

My Camino book officially left the pier on Friday with the launch of “Eat, Sleep and Walk: Stories from the Camino”. I had a great turnout at the Arts House last Friday evening. On Saturday, I sat outside the Campus Bookstore at St.F.X. University and sold some books to visiting alumni, back in Antigonish for Homecoming 2019. I had several wonderful conversations with old friends. The conversation starter was my grad photo which I had brought along as a prop. I had considerably more hair then than I do now!

Many thanks to my brother Gerard and friend, Kathy who helped me transport books on the weekend. And a super big shout out to my friends at the Arts House for providing their space for my launch. I almost forgot to mention Diana who worked with me at the launch Friday and on Saturday, when I had a technology snag. She dropped what she was doing and made her way to campus. Thank you, Diana!

Always remember to have a good day.


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