It’s Not Always About The Trees
Written by: Jeff Wilson, Certified Arborist IL-0099A
As an arborist I certainly get to see many interesting properties and some spectacular trees. But, it’s not always the trees that are the most interesting part of my day. It’s the people I am lucky enough to meet along the way. Over the years I have met a mom with 8 children, stay at home dads, corporate executives, artists, politicians, homeowners with one tree, owners with thousands of trees and even a Bishop. All had a tree story to tell me and other stories as well. One day a few years back I was fortunate to meet Mrs. Cote at her home in Pleasant Prairie.
Mrs. Cote says “trees are my favorite thing” as we walk the yard. She goes on to say “I should have been born in a forest; I fell in love with trees as a child when we vacationed in Canada, so remote that we traveled in a horse and buggy.” She explained to me that the Spruce is one of her favorites, loves the branch structure of the Hawthorn and that she can tell what season it is through the window by watching the Crabapple. When I asked about her family is when I heard the story that amazed me.
She said that after marring her husband and they had four children all raised in the house that they moved to in 1963 and they had over 50 foster children. I stopped walking when I heard what she had said. As a father of two children I know the amount of work it takes to raise kids.
Mrs. Cote goes on to tell me about how her and her husband just could not say no to the kids that needed help, some for short time, some for a much longer. They first fostered a child in 1969, and adopted one a few years later. I can’t imagine the energy it would take to have five children running around and then adding foster children to the mix. When I asked about the longest stay she says “she came to us in 1987 and is still here”. I had noticed the handicapped license plate on the van when I walked by, Mrs. Cote started taking care of a handicapped young girl in 1987 that is over 50 now. She’s an amazing lady that reminded me that the enjoyment of my day is not always about the trees.