It was planted five years ago and at that time, it hardly showed signs of its ancestors that had come before it.  They stretched high into the sky.  They provided shade on hot summer days and turned a million colors of Fall when the nights began to cool, as the earth turned another page on its seasonal calendar.  No signs of those lofty heights for this little tree…yet.  It was hardly a tree, much less a mighty oak.

But this little tree was different from the others.  It had something more than just its roots to grow on.

It’s the “Leroy tree.”

It was planted with the loving hands of a couple who traveled the world with Leroy.  Together, they covered stories of human conflict and suffering, world leaders in exile and when mayhem in the world took a short break, they even flew half way around the world to join us in Maui just to celebrate our friendship.  These are very special friends.

When they put this little tree in the ground to honor Leroy’s life, it was watered with tears as they remembered how their lives had intertwined over so many years.  They have cared for it ever since, with the same love and affection they had for the man himself and it has responded to that care.

The “Leroy tree” stands tall now.  It is strong enough to withstand the snowy harsh conditions of an Austrian winter in the mountains.  It is the over- head blanket of cover for a picnic on a summer, blue sky day and just like clock work, it becomes the rainbow of Fall this time of year.

I love this tree because it represents so much of what Leroy was as a man.  A strong, proud, independent life force.

This tree, is like no other tree in the world.

 

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