The Trouble Tree

This is one of those stories that I wish I could say was original with me; however, I don't remember where it came from.  Looking through my files I find that I used a variation of it during a talk in 1999.  I'm sharing it, in the first person, for effect:

     The carpenter I hired to help me restore an old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job.  A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start.  While I drove him home, he sat in stoney silence.  On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands.

     After opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation.  His tanned face was wreatherd in smiles, and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.  Afterward, he walked me to my car.  We passed the tree, and my curiosity got the btter of me.  I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

     "Oh, that's my trouble tree," he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children.  So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home.  Then in the morning, I pick them up again."

     "Funny thing is," he smiuled, "when I come out in the morning to pick them up, there aren't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."

Since this is a fairly short story, I'm adding a bonus - another item from the bulletin board in my office and something you've very likely heard before but as often as I've read it, I still find it helpful and useful. There is no expiration date on wisdom. It is Abramham Maslow's top qualities of self-actualization:

Be independent of the opinions of others.                                                                      Be detached from the outcome.                                                                         Have no investment in power or control over others.  Allow people to be who they are and get on with who you are.

t the la     © Dick Caldwell 2012