Memorial Tree

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At the beginning of my friendship with Dave Fleming of Absolute Termite Company, here in New Orleans, he and his girlfriend of 20 some odd years, Janice, asked me to build some kind of Memorial for Janice’s daughter Jennifer.

Jennifer had died many years before, of reasons i won’t get into. But they said they still felt like she was there, and wanted to give her something to let her know they loved her.

I have to first say, that everyone has their own opinions about the afterlife, and some people like me, try not  think about it. But, in this case, i thought quite a lot about it. I looked at pictures of her. I spent some time in the yard, i came up with decorating a tree with cast iron. I threw out the idea of making a fountain, which i immediately regretted! But then, luckily, i figured out a way to do it.

I arrived onsite with my assistant at the time, with all the parts and pieces, and started grinding an cutting the pieces for hours and hours. I drilled 1/2″ holes into the tree, and pounded 1/2″ rod about 2 or 3 inches deep, the span of parts of the castings, then welded the castings to the rods.

I brought a small fiberglass sugar kettle to cut up to use as the upper and lower fountain reservoirs. fiberglassing the rear portions of the basins. i found a kind of natural heart shape in the Live oak around the midpoint, and got the idea to make a middle basin out of fiberglass and foam, burnt with a torch to blend in with the tree. Then we just painted more resin along the front of the tree to keep the water from soaking into it and it all came out pretty cool.

Jennifer’s son Colin seemed to approve, at the end, and everybody was in tears when we turned the fountain on, once it was complete.

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