It was 34 years ago. We were camping near a lake. Dad said, “If you see the ranger, whistle.” We have a family Whistle. Sadly, I found out later, not all families have a family whistle. But we did, and I was ready. 12 years old, standing by the side of the access road with my little brother who at the time was 10. We waited, and watched for the Ranger. After at least 15 min, and no Ranger sightings, Dad reappeared from the woods. Without more than a “Let’s go boys” He struck out for the lake and we followed.
The next day my brother and I went exploring. I wanted to know what dad had done in the woods. My brother and I went to the spot where dad had gone into the woods, and walked slowly in. After looking high and low, we found a tree that had recently be marked. My dad had carved an old fashion love sign into a tree, in the woods…
The initials “SR” then under that, the letter “L” and below that the initials “CC” and below that, the date “77”.
My dad was so cool! Years later, I went back to the woods, near that lake, and found that tree. I took a picture of the carving, blew it up and framed it. I gave it to my parents on their 40th anniversary.
Last November my dad and I went back to that lake to take pictures and reminisce. I asked him if he would like to try to find “His” tree. He said sure and we went looking. We were both surprised and excited to have found that tree once again. There were several trees around “His” tree that had been felled, either by nature or the Park service. But there it was, bigger than either of us had remembered! Maybe 80′ tall! And about 8 feet up, there was his carving! Nature had reclaimed some of it but it is still readable. And no harm had come to that beautiful tree. I think that my dads quest for romantic immortality has, in part, been achieved.