So let me tell you about Percy. Percy is a pecan tree and he has had quite a challenging life in the one year since he sprouted forth from his little pecan shell. Percy’s full name is Percival the Persistent Pecan Tree. And he has rightly earned his name. Percy was once thought to be an evil weed growing in our landscape feature leading up to our front door. My husband ripped Percy from the ground with the same indiscriminate tug that is given to dandelions and dollar weed. Unsure of what he uprooted he called for my astute observation skills.
“That’s a pecan tree,” I declared, awestruck at how it ended up nearly at our front door.
I told my husband that there must be a pecan tree nearby. There was no other explanation. Through some keen detective work, we discovered the tree across the street behind the neighbor’s house. It is a huge, towering Pecan tree. And it must have been watching Percy grow with the admiration only a parent can have.
But how did Percy get there? Did a strong wind blow him loose from the branches of his mother? Did he fall from the clutches of a nutty bird? Did he sprout roots and walk to our lawn? No. None of these unbelievable things happened. It was much more fantastic and nefarious.
A squirrel stole Percy from beneath his mother’s watchful canopy. The same squirrel, not wanting to get caught and to save his prize for later, buried Percy near our door. Then, the irresponsible squirrel forgot about his bounty, and a fortunate thing happened. Percy began to sprout.
That is where we found him. Having suffered enough at the hands of the squirrel, we planted Percy in a nice soft bed of nutritious soil. Percy thrived. He sprouted three leaves before winter came and he went to sleep.
Long after winter had left us, Percy was still asleep. I was sad. I was afraid. I thought maybe Percy didn’t survive the winter. But, lo! Suddenly, Percy began to grow at a rapid pace. Buds appeared at the tip of his head. They flourished in the warm spring months. He was a beautiful little pecan tree with a full head of green leaves.
Then, travesty struck. The squirrel returned looking for his nut. He devastated Percy. He grabbed Percy by the leaves and ripped him apart. There was nothing left but a few broken leaves and Percy’s stalk. The squirrel ravaged Percy’s bed until he found what he was looking for. The nut. It had been cleaved in two by Percy’s roots and there was nothing left for the squirrel. Percy had taken all the nutrients he needed in order to grow.
Maybe the squirrel was hungry. Maybe he was frustrated. Either way, I thought Percy was for sure gone. Though I held on to some hope. My husband wanted me to toss Percy. Get ride of him. Give up. I held on.
And sure enough. New buds! Percy was alive and well. He was not the same as he was before. The squirrel left permanent scars, but Percy was persevering. He wasn’t giving up and neither was I.
Every day I watched him grow. He pushed out those new branches one by one. He unfurled his new leaves with pride. They were beautiful. He was beautiful. He was my beautiful little pecan tree.
Or so I thought.
Evidently, the squirrel thought Percy belonged to him. He was, after all, the one who planted him. This morning, as I went out to check on him, I was met with a sight I will not soon forget. Percy lay on his side, mangled and mutilated. His bed dug up once more. His leaves wilted and his root in pieces. I raised my fists to the trees above and cursed that squirrel wherever he sat….most likely watching me with his spiteful little whiskers mocking my pain, Percy’s pain.
But I haven’t given up on Percy. Percy is a strong little tree. As hope seems to be dwindling with each vicious attack by that stupid, vindictive little squirrel, I will be there to protect Percy until the bitter end. I fixed Percy as best I could. I straightened him up, gave him some water and smoothed out his bed. I hope it is enough. I just have to remind myself that even in the darkest of nights, there is always a ray of hope.
Squirrels be damned!
*This story is NOT fiction. It is based on actual events. Poor Percy.by