by Florence W. Deems

That winter we had a lot of snow, so there were days when no humans could move around very well--schools closed, offices closed, city came to a standstill for several days at a time until the road crews could clear the streets. Holed up in my apartment, I had nothing to do, 'cept watch TV and that got boring after a while.

One day I get out a pad of paper and start diddling and doodling and scribbling. And when I hafta stop, 'cuz my fingers get to cramping, I've filled quite a few pages! Well, I'll be hornswoggled!

I fix myself some hot tea and sit down by the fireplace to read what I've written. Hey--y' know, that's pretty good! Yeah! Like, here I've written down several stories the old story tree'd told me! Gee, I'll try this some more. I sure know LOTS of stories. Sounds like something worthwhile to do while I'm waiting for my order to the Universe to arrive. Sure seems to be taking a while longer this time.

So, over the next few days and the weekend, I fill pad after pad with stories and more stories. I don't leave my apartment--can't very well, anyway. Good thing I'd put by a supply of food and this building still has heat and power. I call my folks and Tom's and Mary's folks and they're surviving okay and are glad I am, too.


Monday, when I go back to work, I ask one of the new secretaries if she does typing on the side. Sure, she says, and so takes my scribbled stories home. Over the next several days, she types up what I've written.

"Charlie," she enthuses, "these stories are really GOOD! Where'd you get all these stories, anyway?"

"Oh," I shrug, "I've been collecting stories most of my life. I just got bored out of my teakettle when we had to stay in for several days. So I started writing some of 'em down. Didn't really plan on doing it. I just sorta did it." I pay her for her work.

She smiles, "Any time you have any more stories, I'll be happy to type them for you. Y 'know, my favorites are the ones about those talking trees! Wouldn't it just be fabulous if we could really talk to trees? I'll bet they could tell us a lotta things, like the REAL history of an area--things like that, y' know?" She sighs. "Oh, don't mind me. I'm just being sorta silly, y' know."

I observe myself saying, "Susan, I don't think you're being silly at all! Uh, by the way, you doing anything tonight?" Oh, Universe, is this the gal you sent to fill my order?


Susan and I, we became a twosome pretty fast! I kept cranking out the stories, and she kept typing them as fast as I could write them. Soon I had quite a collection. So then we started researching publishers who put out short story collections. After a couple months, we picked out some and I packed up copies of my manuscripts, all nice and double-spaced like Susan had typed them, and sent 'em off to three publishers. Two who accept whole manuscripts and one that accepts only samples.

Then we figured on the three-to-six months they said we'd hafta wait until they got around to reading them. So sometimes in the spring I should know, one way or the other. We decided to take a break from all this writing and typing. I still hadn't told her about the REAL story tree.

But I did take her to visit my folks lots, and of course showed her the two white oaks I'd planted. She'd read the story about how a three-year-old had seen these acorns and had taken one home to plant. I'd changed the story quite a bit about how I'd really lived it. But I did tell her when we looked at my still-sleeping trees, that I was that three-year-old kid.

Then I told her the real story , but left out the part about the trees talking--not yet. After all, they're still sleeping. But Susan did say she wished they could really talk! I just hugged her real had and then we went back in the house, as the cold wind was knifing through us.

Winter seemed to hang on forever. But finally we got some warm days, the sun came out and the ice and snow started dripping and flashing rainbows of jewels in the sunlight. The streams started flowing noisily as the ice broke up on their surface. The ground got sloppy and muddy when it finally appeared from beneath the snow. But the thaw just couldn't happen fast enough for me! I wanted my trees to wake up EARLY this spring.

Impatiently I watched as the first wildflowers came out, and then the early flowering shrubs around town. Each week we'd have our ups and downs, weather-wise. Susan couldn't understand why I was so antsy for spring to get on with it. So I tried my level best to calm down.


And then it hadta SNOW last night! While Susan stands at the window marveling at how the blasted white stuff's transformed the outdoors into a fairy wonderland, I pace the room.

"Charlie, how about us taking a walk and admiring all this beauty close up?" As I look at her in disbelief, she's putting her boots on!

Well, why not? I might as well pace outside and get some fresh air as do it in here, feeling like a caged squirrel. So off we go, oohing and giggling as the snow drops off the wires and branches--seems like it's just sitting there waiting 'til we get under it--and then--PLOP! Laughing, I say, "At least it isn't the other kind of white goop that can plop outa trees!"

She thinks I'm so clever with words! After a bit, though, we feel cold 'cause of all that wet snow that's dripped on us, so we head back to the apartment.

Oh. Yeah. Well, you see, we've been living together for a month or so. But we haven't told our folks about this, just yet. It just seemed to kinda happen, natural like. She'd be over typing while I was writing, and then it'd get late. It really got to be a hassle, me having to drive her to her apartment so late. Anyhow, since we'd also been dating when I wasn't writing and she wasn't typing, and we both weren't at work--well, anyhow one night she just stayed over. And that was sorta that!

I've always found it really HARD to talk about personal stuff. But I'm sorta forcing myself to this time, as otherwise, you might not know what's going on.

But now that she and I've--well, you know. I do have a responsibility to choose the right kind of woman to be the mother of my kids that I can show how to talk to story trees. And here I've gone and shacked up with Susan--and I don't even know if she'll ridicule me or accept what I do with the trees and the little folk. All I have to go on are those few remarks she made a while back about wouldn't it be fun if we really COULD talk to trees

That's what's got me so nervous this spring--it's this WAITING that's so hard--turns my stomach into knots and sort of takes the edge off the great times I'm having with Susan. I REALLY don't know WHAT I'll do if she doesn't accept that the white oak story trees really CAN talk!

OOPS! There I go again, doubting that the Universe has really filled my order! Okay, I DO believe that Susan's the gal the Universe sent me! Oh, I WISH those trees'd hurry and wake up!


The Story Trees
1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7
8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13

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