Every March before the leaves on the trees budded out, my dad would drop me off at his mom’s house for a down and dirty spring cleaning of her yard. Granny Halley was a kind, wise, and generous old wrinkly woman who always greeted me with a massive hug and a wet kiss on my forehead. I would return her love with a hug and a loud “I love you too Halley.”

When I was just eight years old, Granny Halley introduced me to the beauty of trees. She would take me around her garden and point out where brown squirrels had planted acorns in the ground for winter food. Those acorns not dug up for food by the squirrels would turn into new trees in late spring. Halley carefully demonstrated how to dig up the new trees. With the skill of an old surgeon, she would use a small hand spade and skillfully gather the bulb of the acorn, leaving the dirt fully intact. She would then replant the small trees in her garden. After a couple more growing seasons she would grade the trees for their quality and ultimately replant the trees in her yard or give them away to friends.

It did not take me very long to figure out I could harvest the small acorn plugs, put them in Folgers coffee cans and sell them as trees to my neighbors. I would take my rusty little red wagon and go door to door with my new trees, selling them for $5 each. I would harvest approximately 50 to 60 trees a season. That was a lot of money for an eight-year-old boy. With my money, I bought a Go Cart and baseball cards to trade with my friends.

Yes, early spring is my favorite time of the year, right before the trees bud and when grandmothers all over the world greet their grandchildren with big hugs and sometimes wet kisses on the forehead.