Monday, February 16, 2009


About one-fourth of the way down County Road 900 South to Slater's Market, with baby Eli frontpacked, Emma and Molly in the double stroller nibbling graham crackers, and Jesse walking, making longstemmed grasses whistle, we'd pass the Kissing Tree. It was really two parallel trees that barely touched, except slightly, at two large branch cuts that had healed into facing, well, "kissing" doughnuts. Then someone of us would always exclaim, "There's the Kissing Tree!"

It was beyond old Mr. and Mrs. Hossler's place where Ruby tended the neatly arranged, large garden, with some of the tallest, prettiest flowers we'd ever seen. He, "Pardon my French" Ed--he said that a lot because he'd slip most every conversation and say something he really meant to not say, was rarely seen driving his truck. They say he'd started drinking years ago when they lost their beautiful little five-year-old daughter. It wasn't a disease. She just fell out of the truck's open door as the then-young Mr. Hossler was driving up State Road 14. The Kissing Tree helped us forget about that awful sadness.

Seventeen years later, it is so grown together and intertwined that it's hard to distinguish which branches belong to which tree. You can still see the kissing part.