There were at least two Italian Cypress growing at one time in the front yard of the house on the hill. I remember them more vaguely than a lot of the other plants that populated our immediate surroundings, so I'm a bit unclear on the actual number. They were in a row at the front edge of the yard, forming a screen between the house and the road, so there could easily have been more than two. In fact, there probably were more than two, even though in my mind's eye there are two of them. My memory is vague where they are concerned because they were early to fail Daddy's test of what was a worthy tree, and down they came. Daddy loved plants - he was planting walnuts and pecans from seed when he was in his late fifties (something I did not understand then, but completely understand now) - but he didn't have much use for frivolous things. And, apparently, the Italian Cypress were frivolous.
As far as I was concerned, they were exotic. Daddy smoked cigars that came in a box with a dark-haired, dark-eyed lady on the inside of the lid. She ware a colorful dress and a black lace mantilla. She was exotic. I would have given my right arm to look even remotely like her. I thought I was plain and mousy, my life ordinary and maybe even a bit dull. I was a happy kid, but i had a vivid imagination and my imaginary worlds were full of beautiful people and exciting events taking place in far away, mysterious lands. A farm in rural Northeast Texas was a pale shadow of a place in comparison. As I come full circle, it's not the exotic I seek, it is the serene, the peaceful, the sense of being home. That pale shadow is a place of deep abiding and contentment.