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From the Editor -
Karen Treharne
The Joy of Family
Featured Article
Legend of the Dogwood Tree
By Karen Treharne

I have a special fondness for the dogwood tree. When my husband and I moved into our first home, my parents bought us a dogwood tree which we planted in our front yard. It was only about 4 feet tall then, but it still produced delicate pink and white flowers that sweetened the air with their fragrance.

When we divorced, my father dug up the dogwood for me and planted it in their own front yard. I could not bear to suffer its loss and at least I would be able to watch it as it continued to grow.

My mother died some 28 years later and, at that time, the tree stood over 20 feet tall. During those years, it had become a hallmark of beauty for all who passed its way. It had been sustained under God’s watchful eye and even though it was no longer mine, God was and is preserving it for others to enjoy.

As I sorted through mom’s belongings one day after her death, I ran across a newspaper clipping that she had saved. It was entitled the Legend of the Dogwood Tree.

According to this legend, at the time of the Crucifixion, the dogwood had been the size of the mighty oak and other majestic forest trees. So firm and strong was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the Master’s cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the tree, and Jesus sensed it. In His gentle mercy, God decreed, "Because of your regret and pity for my suffering, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a cross. From now on it shall be slender, bent and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross…two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and stained with red. The center of the flower will resemble the crown of thorns with bright red, clustered fruit in the center representing the blood of Christ. And all who see it will remember."

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It’s Home…It’s Even’ tide
By Howard L. Pierce

At sunset…when the lamps were trimmed

And night sounds settled in,

The fireplace…crackled out its tune;

The night birds’ songs begin…

The table’s cleared…the dishes washed…

Leftovers…set aside…

The flickering lamps, their shadows cast…

It’s home…It’s even’ tide.

Those early scenes and sounds of yore

Come back to…haunt…and thrill.

When such essential ‘pleasantries’

Our humble home would fill.

We’d read the Bible…then we’d pray,

May even sing a song…

And in their glee…I think I heard

The crickets…chirp along!

But time…weaves…newer tapestries,

And ears…hear different sounds;

But somehow…deep inside the soul

Old ‘pleasantries’ abound.

The table’s cleared…the dishes washed…

Leftovers…set aside…

The flickering lamps…a welcome sight…

Come Home…it’s even’ tide.

Howard Pierce was born into a Quaker family in Southwest Virginia in 1938. He is a U.S. Army veteran and a retired construction worker, who has been married for more than 41 years to his wife, Loretta. He has been legally blind for seven years and has been published in the local Alliance for the Blind newsletter. His writing specialty is poetry, although he writes prose as well.

That Birthday Face
By Trish Thompson

I remember when my boys were small, we never could afford to have fancy parties on their birthdays, so instead we made that the one special day of the year for each of them to pick whatever they wanted to have for dinner that night ... they could choose their favorite foods, and for that one night all the rules of nutrition were suspended in honor of the milestone they each had achieved.

No one else in the family was allowed to complain about the choices. They were to eat that birthday dinner as though it was the best one they'd ever had. The boys were so excited about that, and would spend days before their birthday planning that meal; full of the things they loved, all together in one memorable meal.

One meal I've never forgotten, mostly because of the looks on everyone else's face when their plate was placed before them ... was creamed corn, carrots, and orange jello. Everyone valiantly put on a pleasant face when confronted with this strange meal, but the look on the face of that birthday boy glowed – he'd received a meal fit for a king!

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