My beloved sycamore

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By Louise Hagedorn Mattingly, Guest Columnist

When I think about growing up on the farm in Perry County, many happy thoughts come to mind. Many things were learned from both parents. My mother was a teacher, my father, a farmer. I learned at an early age the desire for learning and the love of nature. These are wonderful gifts.

My father would announce the return of birds in the spring and flowering plants and trees. “If you enjoy nature, you will never be lonely,” he taught me.

I left home at an early age to study nursing, encouraged by both parents. I have lived in the city ever since, married a man from the city and raised  my family there.

The children all spent time on the farm, love going back and learned priceless gardening skills from the family members on the farm.

When we return each September for a reunion at the lake, one thing is a must: go down the creek road and check on the old sycamore, a huge old tree standing on a slough area where my father and brothers planted late corn and sold it in town.

My two sisters and I own the land where the tree stands with outstretched limbs, home to many creatures and birds. It’s a treasure that has withstood time, storms and floods.

A watercolor painting of the tree hangs in our home today, a reminder of my youth on the farm. The wonderful memories, including blooming bluebells and spring on the banks, always take me back to the old sycamore.