How many share a love for a special tree?

From our March 2013 issue

By Magdelina (Yungwirth) Bernier – St. Louis, Sask.

How many of you have had a favourite tree – one you climbed into and sat for hours as a child?

I wish I could still climb like I used to. My brother and I had this one wonderful tree that grew along a fence line with nothing around it but open field!

It was our airplane of fancy. We’d fancy ourselves flying anywhere in the world we wanted to go.

The front cockpit had all the levers, switches, gages, and gadgets that every branch or twig could afford and even some carved into the bark – to my brother’s imagination – nothing that a girl could understand.

I was content to climb higher and out on another strong site and survey my world around me.

This was during WWII when the Tiger Moth and Stinson trainer planes from Prince Albert base were often seen flying over or around us. (One crash-landed in the cow pasture, but that will be for another story.)

Often when we were in school, the flyboys would buzz the school, driving our teacher crazy, but to our sheer delight.

Sometimes I’d go for the cattle and if I had extra time I’d climb up my tree and daydream of flying with some handsome flyboy instead of my brother. What a romantic notion for a small girl, eh?

Last year my nephew said they were thinking of taking down this tree.

“Oh no!” I cried, “Not MY tree.”

He looked at me funny as I started to relate stories of my and his dad’s time in that tree.

He jumped up and called his daughter saying, “You have to hear this!” To her delight, she had an ally in her cause in not cutting down this tree.

I guess she loved it too and had her own stories to tell as she grew up on the same farm and has a similar love affair with said tree.

How many young people can share memories of their childhood and such fond tales of just a tree?

This same nephew visited us earlier this spring and the first thing I asked was “Did you take down MY tree?”

He laughed and said, “No, it’s still standing. We farmed around it – again!”

My niece Audrey and I took a road trip to see a couple of the wonderful trees in my life. My brother and I revisited our special trees some 70 years later.

Our second tree was one in the Nisbet Forest simply called “The Big Tree”.

We often stopped there to rest the horses when we would went to the city for groceries or to church on Sundays.

This big pine tree is now quite ant-infested and sadly will probably come down in a strong wind or rainstorm.

Tony and Magdelina’s beloved tree, taken in August 2012 just north of Prince Albert, Sask.