Mother often told me about her Mother, how she struggled, keeping her pennies in a purse held by dozens of elastic bands, safely hidden between her bosoms.

Because of this, my Mother did her best to give me a better start in life.

You can imagine how proud she was when I went to University, starting work in the Department of Social Services, sadly not the happiest years of my life.

Flipping the pages of a magazine, as I wait to have my hair done, I see, Vacancy, ‘’The Cherry Tree’’ – Home for Disadvantaged Children.

How swiftly things happen. This morning I’m to start work at this beautiful home, set amidst a grove of cherry trees.

I’m greeted at the door, by a lady who oozes happiness.

Hello, you must be Mary!

I’m Miss Hughes, she enthuses, come, let me introduce you to Joshua.

Joshua is 15 years old, neat jet-black hair, with a calm look of defensive defiance.

I’m not told about Joshua’s background, other than he needs direction in his life.

This morning on our inspection of the cherry trees, we found many infected with black fly; to rid them with the water hose will be a huge challenge for Joshua and myself.

Now at the end of the month with no sign of black fly, we celebrate with laughter and high fives. I see the sense of satisfaction on Joshua’s face.

Today we celebrate. The grove now ablaze with cherry blossom, it’s time to party, al fresco style.

This morning I received a letter from Joshua. ……Dear Miss Mary, and everyone at the Cherry Tree Home. It was the time I was clearing the black fly from the cherry trees, with Miss Mary, that I came to realize that there were things in my life I needed to be rid of too. So on arriving home, I made the decision to leave the gang that I was a member of. I would like to thank you Miss Mary, and everyone at the Cherry Tree Home for making this possible.

Thank you, Joshua.

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
1 year ago

Taking care of the sick tree had been the right therapy for a child like Joshua. Putting something to right, made him see clearly how the path he was taking was so wrong. I like the feeling that something like this is possible. ? .

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Brigitta Hegyi
Brigitta Hegyi(@brigitta-hegyi)
1 year ago

Sometimes we need a little help to see what’s good and bad. Instead of forcing him to change, she tried to spend quality time with the kid, teaching something useful. Great story.

Santina Forlenza
Santina Forlenza(@santina-forlenza)
1 year ago

Nature can really change people’s lives for the better. The charry tree is silent, it does not reproach. It stands on deep roots, and still it influences people’s lives. From Joshua it gets the cares it needs, and its reward for that is his life back on the right path. All this I felt from your story, Eric.

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Lydia E Atzemian
Lydia E Atzemian(@lydia-e-atzemian)
1 year ago

i could almost hear it all in my head for some reason. I feel like your writing has that effect, even though it’s just words, I can sense everything!

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 year ago

A nice story about healing, Eric; how we can help and serve each other and how we help ourselves in doing so. Very nicely written.
Also: thanks for your generous comment to my story Bloodlines. For some reason, I cannot answer you on that page. I appreciate it very much, though.

Danielle Burke
Danielle Burke(@danielle-burke)
1 year ago

I really like how you’ve captured this symbolic moment. I’ve seen many kids with that look of “defensive defiance” over the years. This is a powerful reminder of the influence we can have on others.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 year ago

When words bring a smile to your face, you know how good a story is. My smile came with the paragraph ‘Now at the end of the month…’ because I felt the change in Joshua. A really moving story Eric with a lovely ending.

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Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
1 year ago

The ‘cherry tree’ in your story represents Nature. Nature is soothing and is comforting; it helps calm fears, anxiety, or pain.It brings relief and makes us feel better. Your story confirms this truth.

Dipayan Chakrabarti
Dipayan Chakrabarti(@dipayan-chakrabarti)
Reply to  Eric Radcliffe
1 year ago

You’re welcome, Eric.

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Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
1 year ago

A wonderful story of hope, Eric, not only for Joshua but also for Mary who has found her true calling. Every Joshua needs a Mary; every Mary needs a Joshua! Well done 🙂

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 year ago

I always think that caring for others, be it plant or animal, can be a balm to the soul and help with the healing process. It helps you to focus on what is important and this is reflected well in your story. Good job.

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