A Tree for Max

max_papa.JPGMy Dad taught me long ago that we don't plant trees for ourselves, we plant them for our grandchildren.

He reminded me about that shortly before he died. Tethered to an oxygen bottle, in what would be the last year of his life, my 84-year-old father planted a tree.

It wasn’t much of a tree – more Charlie Brown than Paul Bunyan. When I kidded him about the unlikely prospect that he would ever sit in the shade of that tree, Dad simply said, “You don’t plant trees for yourself, you plant them for your grandchildren.”

It was the most important lesson he ever taught me - living your life today as if the future matters.

I take those words to heart, and have tried my best to live by them throughout my life.

The year after Dad died, on Arbor Day, I told my children about that tree their Papa had planted for them, and asked them to join me as we planted a couple of trees for their own future grandchildren.

Here's the tree I planted for my first grandson Max in the new Minnetonka Mills Park, one of my proudest legacies in the city I once managed. I hope it will be a legacy and lesson that Max will also someday come to know.





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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair