I’m standing next to the counter in my post office, staring at a sheet of stamps that are tacked to the wall.
On the stamps, I see a cartoon of a dark-haired boy, of about five, looking skyward.
The kid is shoeless, dressed only in green overalls and a red shirt.
His arms and hands stretch toward the sky as he waits to catch a falling red apple.
I don’t recognize the art work but it looks familiar.
And I’m too far away to read the words on the stamps.
But my curiosity reaches for my wallet and I buy a sheet.
And then, my eyes light up and a smile breaks out across my face, when I read the words: The Giving Tree and Shel Silverstein.
I remember buying the Giving Tree at Barnes and Noble forty-five years ago.
“Do you recall buying the hardcover book?”
I remember reading Shel Silverstein’s book to each of my three sons.
“Did you read it to your kids?”
My smile stays plastered across my face when I realize how much I love it:
When a nice Jewish boychick gets recognized on a US postage stamp;
When a US postage stamp links to my life;
When a US postage stamp is about one of my favorite children’s books.
“So, you want to learn more about Shel Silverstein and The Giving Tree?”
Well, Shel was a writer, poet, cartoonist, songwriter and playwright.
Yup, Shel made it to Renaissance man status.
“Did you know that Shel wrote all of these (Just to name a few):
Where the Sidewalk Ends;
A Light in the Attic;
A Boy Named Sue sung by Johnny Cash;
The Unicorn sung by the Irish Rovers;
The Cover of the “Rolling Stone” sung by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show.”
Now, that’s a trip down memory lane.
But I return to looking at the sheet of stamps and wonder:
“Do you remember the moral of the The Giving Tree?”
“I do. Do you?”
Well, here’s the moral.
The tree gives the boy “unconditional love.”
The tree gives its fruit, its branches, its bark and even its limbs to the boy.
Now that’s what I call: unconditional love.
So parents and lovers, here’s the moral:
Remember that giving “unconditional love” is an admirable goal.
But never forget, it comes with a price, you’re going to end up being a stump.