by Florence W. Deems

Years have passed. When Tom and Mary got older, and I got back from college--the campus didn't have any story trees on it, by the way. Next time I choose a college, I'll make sure to visit the campus first and walk around to see if it has any story trees on it.

Now, where was I? Oh, yeah--I visited Tom and Mary and drove 'em over to see my story tree, which sure grew a lot bigger while I was away! They were thrilled to meet my tree, and we all had a great conversation under it. I still don't want to put anybody in it, as its branches need a while more to grow large enough to support people's weight. It'd felt lonely while I was away at college so much. But at least I got to come home for the holidays. Except the longest holiday falls in the middle of the winter when the story trees hibernate.

Even though I was home during the summers, since I had a summer job, I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted talking to my tree. Of course, every time I got home, I'd also go over to Gram's to talk to her tree and to the kids, Tikker and the other little folks. I wanted to keep it and my tree up to date on what each one was doing. As if trees actually DO anything, I mean, like people do. But they did have news and stories to pass on to each other. So I did it for them and they felt grateful to me.

After he'd seen my story tree and how isolated it is from the other story trees, Tom suggested that I take another of Gram's story tree's acorns and plant it near my first story tree! Now that's such a GOOD idea, all of us--the two story trees, Tikker and the little folks, and Tom and Mary and me--We just couldn't figure out why one of us hadn't thought about doing this before!

So we found a sprouting acorn and planted it near my first tree. Mom and Dad didn't mind, as they like white oak trees. It's just that they'll never believe some white oaks can talk. Dad also wondered why we didn't think to plant another tree before!


This afternoon I've just delivered Tom and Mary beck to their folks and am having a final talk with Gram's tree before heading on home. The tree is delighted that we've planted another of its acorns and that now its first offspring will have company to talk to soon.

"Charlie," the tree asks, "when do you plan to have your own acorns?"

"My own acorns?"

"Yes, so they can grow up being able to talk to story trees and the little folk."

"OH!" I blush and laugh at the same time. "You mean, when am I going to get married, settle down and have kids."

"Yes," the tree affirms. "Tom and Mary may go away when they're grown and their parents may move away. So then there won't be any more people to talk to us story trees and the little folk. Also, now that you've planted another of my acorns, I hope you'll plan on going on living there, so you can take care of my two offspring."

"Gee," I say, feeling the weight of this responsibility for the first time. "You know, I've just never thought about making sure that people who can talk to the trees and the little folk who live here and at my folks' place! Golly! Well, I'll hafta think about this. I did date some girls in college, but since there weren't any story trees on the campus, I sorta forgot all about trying to find out whether those girls believed in talking trees and little folk!"

As I drive home, I realize that my innocent desire when I was three years old has now grown into a responsibility! Now I've got two places to think about taking care of. Well, at least Tom's and Mary's folk love that place and seem content to live there for the rest of their lives. They do talk with that old story tree and the little folk, too.

So at least for now, I don't think I hafta worry too much about that place. Mom and Dad'll continue living at home until they die or are too old to take care of it any more. So this means when I do get married, I'll try finding a place near my folks to live until I can move onto their property.

Whew! All this thinking's sure made me hungry! Hope Mom'll have supper just about ready!


For the next week, I fill out job applications and get a few interviews. Finally I manage to get a decent job in the city closest to where my folks live, about a 20-minute drive. Okay. Now I can start shopping around for a suitable girl to marry. Geez, am I really READY for this?

I check out the gals at work. Some of 'em are real lookers, too. But, as Gram's story tree told me, I need to find a girl who, if she can't or won't talk to a tree, at least she'll not laugh or ridicule me for doing it. A lot of the gals at work seem superficial--just interested in the latest make-up, fashions, TV shows and so forth. All this stuff that I'd by-passed for years, because I'd spent my time talking to story trees and wee folk.

I remember some of the girls I'd met at college who seemed serious. I tick 'em off, one by one. But I find them all lacking in one respect or another. Okay, so that takes care of that! Look elsewhere. But WHERE? Girls just don't grow on trees like leaves do!

The summer ticks on. No suitable female prospects in sight. I do take a few gals out on dates. But I'm mostly bored with their chatter. Airheads, all of them! Now it's late fall and the story trees'll be going to sleep for the winter. Which means I'll hafta do my woman hunt all alone, without the trees to talk to.


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

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