The setting was a cold February, 1986.
My husband and I had been married about six months when the bottom of the oil bust hit Oklahoma. Thousands of homes in Edmond were being vacated after the interest rates within a group of “negative amortization” loans began to skyrocket as the oil jobs started drying up.
For newlyweds living in a tiny apartment like us with adequate income, the housing market was a real opportunity. We purchased our first home from builders who had been paying interest on it for over a year. They were desperate and we felt lucky. We closed on the deal very quickly.
Eighteen months later the interior of the home was furnished and decorated enough to begin turning our attention to the landscaping.
A place called TLC Nursery was only a mile away and once each year they had a “Midnight Madness” sale. This event was legendary among the other young homeowners in our neighborhood. When the sale hit, Mick and I stayed up late, hand picked two trees for our front yard, brought them home like special prizes and planted them. One was a Red Oak – – the leaves were huge and it would have been beautiful had it lived. But it didn’t.
The second tree was a Live Oak and this one showed a bit more promise.
Years three through five of our marriage were rough. Mick worked nights, I worked long hours and traveled. We hit a stressful time in our relationship and in order to start fresh we moved downtown into a historic home close to the Capitol. As we refurbished the old home we began to refurbish our marriage. By the time we sold it three years later, the house – and our relationship, were in much better shape.
About every five years or so, we have driven by our first home to check on the tree. It grew along with our family history. We made that pilgrimage again last week and were surprised at how massive and beautiful the tree had become.
We didn’t say much as we drove down the street. The tree said it all. The tree is our marriage, and it’s doing just fine.