So you're living the country life | Living the Country Life

So you're living the country life

Many years ago I planted a tree. I've planted a lot of trees in my life, but this was a black walnut tree in honor of the birth of my first daughter.
My 1-year-old granddaughter, Meron, enjoys the swing that I hung from my favorite walnut tree.

The walnut tree

The tree is straight east of the house, where the branches frame the morning sun as I sit in my office. About 10 years ago, a horizontal branch 6 feet off the ground caught my eye. When I pruned, I left that branch alone. Sooner or later I would have a grandchild, and that grandchild would need a swing.

My oldest daughter got married, standing in a pergola I made, right next to her walnut tree. Meanwhile, the swing branch got thicker and stronger. I gave it a tug every now and then.

About three years ago, I decided the branch was ready -- and so was I. But pestering your children about the absence of grandchildren isn't productive, so I kept my mouth shut. If I whined, I did it only to my wife, the occasional stranger, and every now and again at family reunions. All to no avail.

But about nine months ago, my daughter and her husband traveled to Ethiopia and brought home a baby. They brought back coffee, too, but the baby was the big thing.

I can't describe the feeling. Standing in the airport and seeing that sleepy brown face peeking out at us was...heart-stopping.

I was a little concerned about bringing a child from Africa to our small town of Scandinavians. When you live in a place where cultural diversity is Norwegians going to Advent Service at the Swede church, you know what I mean. Was she going to blend in?

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