When Kathleen Young’s daughter, Amelia, was a little girl, they used to walk down to an old wooden fence at the end of their street in the Meadow Lake subdivision to watch deer graze in a soybean field.
Today that field in Brentwood is the site of Margaret Hayes Powell Park.
Kathleen still walks there every day, no matter the weather, but now it’s with her two-year-old Maltese/Shih tzu mix, Winnie. They usually do two loops around, which really racks up the steps on the Fitbit, Kathleen says.
Not too long ago, this past summer, on one of those walks, something caught Kathleen’s attention. At the end of a line of full, hardy-looking evergreens, set several feet away, stood a sort of odd-looking tree. It was different from the others. The weather had been terribly dry. Kathleen wondered how the little tree would survive.
“It was a scraggly, lost-looking little thing and I would always tell everybody, ‘I feel so bad for this tree, look at this tree,’” Kathleen said.
Kathleen kept thinking about it through the fall as the holiday season neared.
“The tree was calling me,” she said.
It reminded her of something. Something innocent. Something from a simpler time. She had an idea.
“I thought, you know what, this is the Charlie Brown tree. I’m gonna do something like that,” Kathleen said.
For those who don’t remember, in the holiday classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” the perennially downcast Charlie Brown is tasked with selecting a Christmas tree to adorn the stage of a Christmas play. He is saddened by what he sees as the crass, commercialization of Christmas and ends up buying a thin, sparsely-needled natural tree. The other kids are not amused. “What kind of tree is that?” one shouts in disgust.
But Charlie Brown sees something in the tree that others did not. That’s how Kathleen felt about her tree.
In life, “you see things that at first don’t look appealing to you,” Kathleen said. But, beauty can sometimes be found if “you look beyond what’s there.”
Kathleen went to Target and bought some tinsel and a few ornaments. She walked out to the tree and put them on it.
Ever since, she can’t pass the tree without smiling. She hopes it has the same effect on others.
“It brought me joy just to do it, but hopefully someone else can get some joy from it,” Kathleen said.
NOTE: Kathleen was curious what kind of tree her “Charlie Brown” tree was. An official at the Brentwood Parks & Recreation Department said that it was likely a blue atlas cedar.