In the beginning there were at least 4 trees in the front yard of the old house on the hill. I remember the big pecan tree, which is still there to this day. There were two trees that I think might have been cedars of some kind (I need to consult an older cousin who might remember better than I), and the vitax tree. I loved the vitex tree. Not only did it sport pretty spikes of purple flowers, it sparked my imagination. Somehow, in all my reading I had gotten the notion that the vitex tree was similar to an olive tree. I had never seen an olive tree mind you, and had no real idea what they were like. I knew, of course, that the two could not be similar in fruit production, but I was convinced they were similar in form. This notion made the tree very exotic and special to my way to thinking. It anchored an entire Mediterranean coast in my front yard in northeast Texas.
Apparently the vitex tree held no special charm for Daddy. In fact, it held no charm at all. I came home from school one day and it was gone. I was devastated. My coast had been ransacked by pirates and laid to waste. In some small part of me I still grieve for that tree.
The leaf specimen that I used for this lumen print came from a vitex tree growing in the front yard of Mrs. Cyrus. She is long gone to her reward and the little shack she and her family lived in all but fallen in. The vitex tree blocks what was once the front door. The Cyrus family helped us pick our cotton every year. When we'd break for lunch, they would spread a picnic blanket under our pecan tree. I'd rush inside and wolf down my lunch so that I could go loiter in the vicinity of their picnic. Mrs. Cyrus could be counted on to give me a cookie, and maybe several. I got a scolding more than once for mooching part of their lunch, so I suppose it is fitting that I mooch a leaf from their tree for this project.