We live in Park Ridge, and when our kids were little we had a tradition of having lunch outside after church every Sunday. We had absolutely no shade in our backyard so we would move our picnic table and Coleman stove down our driveway and park it under Fred’s Tree. Fred was our next-door neighbor and his big tree hung over our driveway, providing much-needed shade from the noon sun. I don’t even know for sure what kind of a tree it was. We always fondly called it Fred’s Tree. Because of the cool shade provided by his tree, we could spend hours outside having a leisurely lunch. We shared stories about school, planned vacations, celebrated birthdays, and just enjoyed each other’s company. Many times while grilling hot dogs or making sub sandwiches I’d gaze up and thank Fred’s Tree for shielding my family from the blistering sun and for fanning us with hundreds of fluttering leaves. Fred’s Tree also kept our cars cool in the summer. It towered over my minivan like a huge umbrella. No hot car seats and seatbelt buckles for us! Eventually Fred’s Tree started to die and our neighbor, Fred, had it cut down. He was afraid it would fall onto our driveway and house in a bad storm. I remember watching out the window as the tree was being removed. I felt like a member of my family had died. I cried for days. I still cry from time to time. Thank you, Fred’s Tree, for taking care of my family and giving us such happy times together.