My 1968 leaf collection is a small metal box containing neatly alphabetized index cards. This 2017 leaf collection is going to be somewhat random. I've decided to start with the pecan.
The house I grew up in had to be a lovely place in 1865 when it was brand new. When I lived there it was barely holding together. But it held together enough to provide a happy home. It stood on a high hill north of Windom, Texas in an area called Spring Hill. In our front yard there was a huge pecan tree. The house is long gone, but the pecan tree is still standing majestically. That pecan tree was my ally and friend.
I loved to read, and could spend hours immersed in a good story. When I wanted to avoid interruptions and I suspected my Mom had chores in mind, I would climb high in the pecan tree with my book, find a comfortable fork to rest in, and pretend I was out of earshot. I was never caught in this gambit, but that probably just means that my mother was indulging me. Looking back, I'm sure she had me figured out.
The tree also played a major role in the loss of some of my little brother's innocence. It produced long, paper-shell pecans. In those days, we didn't have fruit purchased in a store, we ate peaches and pears in season when our own trees produced. Apples we only had at Christmas. Our Christmas stockings always held fruit and nuts and hard candy (along with a fresh coconut) that my Dad bought on Christmas Eve at Smith Moore and Williams in Bonham - always Christmas Eve, always Smith Moore and Williams. Of course, we didn't then know about his shopping habits, we thought Santa Claus brought the goodies. I did until I was informed at school that Santa Claus didn't exist. My brother did until the Christmas morning that he declared, "these pecans came from our tree". With that, the jig was up and Santa Claus ceased to visit. But Daddy still shopped on Christmas Eve and we continued to have Christmas fruit. Along with pecans from our tree.