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Crabapple Tree Memorial

In my folks' backyard was a crabapple tree.

It was there when my family and I came to Fairmount twenty-two years ago, and moved into the house, where it stood in the backyard.

Madre planted a garden around the tree, and placed near its foot the odd mushroom-shaped concrete gnome from Granny's yard. In the spring the tree would put forth the loveliest pink blossoms, which would later form hard, dark red, inedible crabapples.

the backyard crabapple tree as it was in spring 2002.

This is the tree in the spring with its full complement of pink blossoms.

Notice the spiral strip in its trunk? That strip was the crabapple tree's doom. Carpenter ants has gnawed away at the tree's heart. Nobody knew what was going on at first because the bark hid the damage. One day I noticed how loose the bark was and pulled it way to discover the hollow inside.

Although we knew the tree was doomed, yet it hung on for its dearest life: still blooming, still producing crabapples. At one point in the 1990's we thought it would die for sure. But it recovered somewhat to produce the beautiful crown you see in the picture above.

Yet the hollow heart meant that the tree could be blown down with a good gust of wind. That came in May 2003 when a rare whole gale blew into town, tearing down the tree by its also-rotted roots.

the place where the crabapple tree stood, September 2003.

The backyard looks open and empty without that tree. And the back garden will certainly lack without the pretty blossoms the tree put forth every spring.

Written by Andy West on 11 October 2003.