Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees

Spring is upon us, and 'round here if you don't get the hint by the yellow dust of pine pollen that covers every surface outside (and in - if you leave your windows open), then maybe the Cherry Trees in full bloom will remind you. And, these are not  just any Cherry Trees, these are Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees.

Miss Margaret is actually the widow of a beloved state senator. And, if there was ever someone who personifies the southern belle, it is her. Now yes, she can serve a formal dinner for God knows how many with all the fine sterling, crystal, and china in the "Big House". She is known for her oyster pie, her ever present hat, and her outfits that often have a theme. For most occasions, "dressed to the nines" best describes her.

But there is that side of her that also truly makes a southern woman. She can get her way with a smile, after being told no and before it is over the powers that be never knew what hit them. She knows the in and outs of all the state's politics, where the bodies are buried, and who is sleeping with who - but your secret is always safe with her. She has buried a husband, two children, and a daughter-in-law, but still goes through life at ninety with a larger than life positive attitude.

But all this aside, it is her Cherry Trees, that put her on the map. Years ago, she was introduced to the tree and fell in love with its delicate pink blossoms. For her 70th birthday, her family gave her eight Cherry Trees to be planted in the city garden. And, that was the beginning of what Southern Living in 1999 called "An Idea that Grew".  By that time our city had 529 Cherry Trees attributed to her work.

When her daughter died, she asked in lieu of flowers that money be given to purchase more, and much money was sent. Then she had this great idea that if every one in town would just plant one Cherry Tree in their front yard, twenty feet from the curve, then all the streets of our fair town would be lined with these blossoming trees each spring. And, although, not every house has a tree, it is hard not to ride through an established neighborhood without seeing several of the trees planted in their appropriate places.

But, the coup de gras came when the Senator passed away. He never realized how much he loved these trees during his lifetime, but Miss Margaret made sure everyone else did and upon his death, tons of money flowed into the Cherry Tree fund and now the main streets of the city, as well as the drive through our city garden are lined with the Cherry Trees.

The irony is that we are known for our famous rose gardens, which are lovely, and our Rose Festival each May. However, nothing can compare to Miss Margaret's campaign to bring Cherry Trees to the city streets. And, as anyone is aware, she is a southern lady with great charm and a force to be reckoned with. She wanted Cherry Trees and Cherry Trees we have.  

So for one week during the spring, everyone in town is blessed with the beauty of Miss Margaret's Cherry Trees and the fruits of her relentless campaign to line the streets of the city. We are reminded the true beauty of spring. Even after she is gone, her legacy will live on.

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I went to a manicurist once who lived on the street where Miss Margaret's daughter lived. The cherry tree in front of the manicurists's house had died. She saw Miss Margaret somewhere and told her (hoping Miss Margaret would fund the cost of replacing the tree.) Miss Margaret told her just as plain as could as could be: "well, you need to replace it"!