T-Squared Energy Connections[i]
December 21, 1972 – The Wishing Tree
A live pine, dressed for the holidays, filled a corner inside Table for Two. Four Christmas’s ago, the year the restaurant opened, owners Sadie and Lucy started a tradition: a community wishing tree. Residents of all ages wrote wishes on tags and hung them on the tree during the week of Thanksgiving. Everyone in town was encouraged to select someone else’s wish to fulfill.
On December twenty-first, the Monday before Christmas, Dean parked his Harley outside Table for Two in the exact spot he and his twin Dylan had parked their bikes, two and a half years earlier.
Dean glanced at the tree on his way to the counter to order coffee and a sandwich. Carol, the restaurant manager, tilted her head and squinted at Dean.
“Good afternoon. You look familiar. I don’t remember your name, but I never forget a face. Have you been here before?”
“As a matter of fact, I passed through Hartsburg a couple of years ago, with my twin brother, Dylan. We were touring the country before enlisting in the Air Force.”
“That’s right. Is your brother with you?”
“Not exactly.” Dean patted his jacket packet. “Dylan didn’t come back from Vietnam, but he made me promise to revisit our favorite places, and leave a few ashes behind.”
“I’m so sorry about Dylan. I’m honored our tiny restaurant is on your list of places to visit.”
“The food was amazing, and lunch was free because our draft lottery number was below 195.”
“We didn’t give away too many lunches that summer. Today’s special is free dessert for anyone who selects a tag and makes a wish come true. What do you say?”
Coffee mug in his left hand, Dean read the wishes still on the tree. One caught his attention; he detached it and walked to the table as Carol placed his lunch down.
“Who is Tom Savino?”
“Tom grew up on a farm outside of town. Like you and Dylan, Tom served in Vietnam. He came back missing part of an arm and part of himself. He’s had a difficult time adjusting. Why do you ask?”
“I would like to make his wish come true. How can I get in touch with him?”
Dean drove his bike to Tom’s farm. Clutching Tom’s tag, Dean introduced himself.
“Is there someplace we can talk.? I’d like to connect you with my father; he’s part of a team specializing in prosthesis for veterans. I believe he can make your dream come true.”