Chapter 1 – Over a hundred years ago, my great-grandparents planted fig trees around their house in rural northeast Georgia. I wish I knew where they got the cuttings. Maybe from her parents’ house or maybe his parents’ house. Several decades later, their son, my grandfather, took cuttings from their trees and planted them beside his house just down the road. Fast forward a few more decades to when my mother and dad took a cutting from my grandfather’s yard and planted it in their back yard in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Their fig tree thrived and produced some mighty fine figs that my mom made into fig preserves. Some years later, my dad gave me a cutting from his fig tree, which we planted in our back yard here in Atlanta.
Chapter 2 – When my youngest son, Kip, was in kindergarten (see that cute picture above,) I read his class a children’s story I'd written called Elly’s Fig. (My great-grandmother was known as Miss Elly.) Afterwards, I led them outside to the front of Sagamore Hills Elementary School to plant a cutting from the fig tree in our yard. They enjoyed digging a hole, planting , watering and mulching the tiny sapling. But, unbeknownst to them, my cutting didn’t have good roots and it promptly died. (I am not a gardener.)
Chapter 3 – I called my dad and asked him to root a cutting from his fig tree. He was a gardener and knew what he was doing. A few weeks later, he and my mom drove to Atlanta for a visit. Then Dad and I snuck over to the elementary school so he could secretly dig up the dead twig and plant the live baby tree. Kip’s kindergarten class didn’t know I called in a master gardener behind their backs. They just knew “their” fig tree was finally showing signs of life.
Chapter 4 – Two decades later that fig tree is huge! (See the picture above.) It’s still growing proudly in front of my kids’ elementary school. As Kip and his classmates moved from kindergarten through fifth grade, they would occasionally stop by that healthy fig tree and tell anybody who would listen that they planted it back when they were in kindergarten!
Chapter 5 – The fig tree in our back yard isn’t as large as the one at the elementary school but it’s still producing fruit. This year’s figs are gigantic! My husband goes out every morning and evening to pick the ripe ones, trying to get them before the birds do. Then he cooks them and makes fig preserves. Thankfully, it’s the modern era. Men can cook. (See the figs in the pot in the picture above.)
Chapter 6 - The fig trees that once hugged my great-grandparents' home in Madison County are still there. A brick ranch home was built on that spot decades ago by my mother's cousin where the original house once stood. Several ancient fig trees near the current house reveal the outlines of the original home that my great-grandfather built room by room.
Chapter 7 – A fig tree plays an important role in my forthcoming time travel novel, which is due out by the end of this year.
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