The Copper Tree

Story background

Hilary says …

“A few years ago I learned of a 91 year old man who was dying in hospital – he had no living relatives and had outlived all his friends.  He died alone and yet during his life he had been a pilot – in fact he was a pilot in the Second World War.  I thought it was so sad that someone who had given so much should be left with so little.

Later  I learned of a care home in which the carers displayed a photo on each of the doors of the elderly residents.  The photo was a picture of the elderly resident in their younger days.  The carers wanted to remind each other, as well as visitors, that the elderly people were young once – just like many of the visitors who come to the home.

So Christmas Surprise celebrates the elderly, their gifts, their talents and their lives.  We see the children from Copper Tree class enjoy their time with the residents who, in turn are entertained by the children and who help their new friends get ready for Christmas.

The children also discover that the three pets at the care home were also once working dogs.  Bobby and Bess were once huskies pulling sledges laden with goods and Bonnie, was once a working guide dog.

My dad used to train and then look after retired guide dogs.  Christmas Surprise is dedicated to Hal, the most patient guide dog who came to live with dad after many years of dedicated service to a blind man who was also a househusband.  Never once did we ever see Hal ever get cross or agitated.  He was tired after a lifetime of work and rested a lot.  Guide dog puppies would run around him, tease him and nip his tail and children would crawl all over him and stroke his ears even when he dozed,  Never once did Hal ever flinch.  He loved children and he loved puppies.”

Look closely at one of the doors, Mandy has drawn a man in an aeroplane – that is our tribute to the pilot who died alone.  We thought you could remember him with us.