I can still remember riding my little red tricycle around, and around, and around its huge trunk, shaded by its generous canopy. I can see my grandparent’s dog, Sam, who had the most soulful, big brown eyes, loosely chained to its trunk, watching as her people cleaned blue and white striped tents, blue crates, and black carpets in the clearing. Forever dusted in peanut debris, whether from the antique roasters that spin jumbos over open flame, eroding brown shells into fine particles of dust; or from the pitter patter of chipmunk and squirrel feet as they carry discarded shells to and fro on its branches.
It has witnessed countless family events, from my parents’ wedding, to my baptism and bridal shower, to my mother’s funeral luncheon and my infant son’s homecoming. It loomed strong and stalwart as flames kissed its leaves, choked by smoke from our store’s fire.
And every now and then, each fall brings a bop on the head, an acorn falling in perfect synchronization to our cross-drive trek to the store.
In all seasons, our great tree has been there. It has heard the laughter of our children, and felt the pain of our loss. It has been touched by our hard work, and given shade in our time of rest. It has been home to the sounds of the night – a lullaby stronger than the road noise – that put us to sleep at night.
The tree has just always been.
And today, it makes one final sacrifice for our family. Today, limb by limb, it comes down. It makes way so that our business can continue to grow. I am at once ecstatic for our store’s new season, and devastated for the loss of an old friend.
This week we break ground on an expansion of our store building, adding 1,700 square feet of kitchen and office space. By the end of this year, we’ll have made 20 tons of fudge. We’ve simply outgrown our space, and need more.
As I sit here, tears streaming down my cheeks, I remember the many ways it has stood witness to the activities of our family over the last more than three decades. And to the many more families before us in its more than 200 years on this earth.
All I can say is “Thank you, old girl.”
- Nicole Bucher, third generation owner of Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum & Candy Emporium