What joy can a single acorn bring
Planting vitos oak

What joy can a single acorn bring? Here is a story of just one special acorn.

Vito gathered an acorn from a large tree in the forest and planted it in a pot  at his home with his 2 lovely young daughters and wife Kathy. They patiently waited and watched the acorn sprout and they were filled with joy watching it grow slowly over the next year. But soon this wonderful adventurous family would get more adventure than they hoped for.

Vito was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Still in his 30's and breadwinner for his family, he would soon have to take a different role.

Vito chose to leave his home and his garden of hundreds of hand planted and raised flowers, trees and shrubs to pursue treatment in California (a long way from his home on the Gulf Coast of Florida). One by one his plants found new homes until there were just a few left. That is where I came into the picture.

There were a few plants left desperately needing a home or they would be put out for trash. So on that final rainy day I drove over and picked up what was left of the plants. I walked buy that little 3 ft tree in the pot 3-4 times never thinking much about grabbing it - but something made me load it up in the truck. When I got all the plants back to the house I found a nice sunny corner to place the sad little oak and there it grew through winter in on to spring.

A few weeks back my 8 year old grand-daughter came home from school asking where to buy a tree. She explained about life cycles they were learning in class, about beetles and seeds and frogs. Her teacher wanted to plant a tree in the playground and was talking about where they could get one in class. I thought of that little oak tree. I called Kathy and asked if Vito would be ok with me donating the tree to the school. She was very excited and hoped that we could get some pictures to share with Vito, who no longer was able to get around easily and she had her hands full with their 2 daughters and  a newborn baby she had conceived shortly after his diagnosis. I called the school and they were thrilled to accept the little tree.

Today we planted the little oak at the Crestwood Elementary School in Tampa, Fl. The 2nd grade class planted the little tree raised so carefully with love by Vito and his family. The students we very excited and all helped give the tree a proper planting. The area that is designated as the playground currently has very little shade or trees and it is their hope to have a grand oak there someday for future students to enjoy! The all spoke about coming back to see the tree all "grown up" one girl said she hoped her kids would get to enjoy the tree someday.

The class even took time to take a group photo next to the tree. If a tree can feel love, I am sure this one did. I am thankful for this tree, and the lessons it taught Vito's family, the lessons I learned and the lesson the 2nd grade class learned. I am sure as the years pass and the tree continues to grow that it will continue to provide joy to each of the students that will play around, under and on it in the many year to come. All this from one very special little acorn. Just imagine what you can do!