Guest post - a Northwest author's short story

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My brother, Blair Dobson, is an author of several short stories and human interest articles. His work has been published in Northwest lifestyle magazines and for the past few years he has been researching material for his books. This short story, The Cherry Tree, was written for a church publication. While most of his stories are better suited for a book, I thought this was the perfect piece for Sunday afternoon blog reading.

Blair and his wife Tami have four children and enjoy residing near the coast of the Pacific Northwest.

"The Cherry Tree"

I completed my service as a missionary in the spring of 1982 having represented my church within the boundaries of Seville, Spain. I spent the last night in the Province of Andalucía and the final evening at the mission home. After my final interview with my mission president, I retreated to the very room where twenty-two months earlier I had spent my first night as a green missionary.

The time had moved by as fast as the winds carried clouds off over the coastal regions. People back home said I would miss it when it all ended. They were right!

I remember leaning against my bunk and staring at the moon while listening to my fellow companions. They talked about the people they would miss and the impact that this country had on their hearts. They were not alone for I, too, felt the very same way. It challenged me to continue my missionary efforts back home. However, during all my months of service in Spain, something else had an impact upon my heart; a recurring dream that always seemed to get the better of me.

I was raised in the outlying countryside of a small township in the state of Washington. We lived near a place called Prune Hill, which was part of a larger area named Grass Valley. At five years of age, I, along with my younger brother, would run and play the summer away, roaming through hay fields behind our home. Within the valley stood old fruit orchards with several small stands of trees; apple, pear, and cherry but Prune was the most common.

On one occasion, we met two neighbor girls our age and found ourselves swinging under the limbs of a cherry tree. An old tire swing that someone’s father put up kept us entertained. What a thrill it was to have formed a bond and friendship with our new friends, even if they were girls.

We spent long summer days playing in the acreage of tall grass, away from worrisome parents. For several seasons this continued, until one day the family of these two girls packed up their belongings and left without notice. I only knew them by nicknames we gave each other and did not recall their full names.

The remembrance of playful kindred spirits left a huge mark in my life. So large was this impact that I often dreamt of this pair of sisters. As I grew from grade school, the faces of my two friends were hazy and I felt they were somewhat hidden from me. I always assumed the reason for this was that I was very young and thus unable to recognize and identify them as something other than a cherished childhood memory.

The dream itself was very detailed and rarely ever changed. I saw beautiful white blossoms attracting honeybees atop the tree with an old rope and tire swinging under its main branch. Our meeting place would always be under its canopy.

This dream accompanied me through all my years of school, seemingly on a monthly basis and also followed me on my journey an ocean away, with never a hint of change to its state or impression.

During my first year of missionary service, I had this dream several times a month. However, as I progressed toward the final months of my experience in Europe, the dreams for some reason dissipated and images were less clear until almost void. I believed I would never know the identity of my two friends.

Morning had come at the mission home and the time for final good-byes took place. Upon arriving in Madrid, we soon boarded our jet that would carry us back across the Atlantic. We were excited and began to speak English again; more than we thought possible.

As the Elders began to make plans for their personal arrivals and stories of future girl friends falling at their feet were thrown about, I sat quietly allowing the plane to lift me into the air.

We were silent as the plane rose off the ground and headed West. I remember closing my eyes and relaxing my body, leaning back into my seat. The mixture of air hissing through the cabin and the drone of jet engines were the only sounds I heard.

Thoughts eagerly entered my mind. I wanted to continue missionary work at home and I began to ponder with whom I could share this message.
Without warning, a snapshot popped in my mind as if thrown there instantly. What came to my soul was an overwhelming feeling that I was to visit a friend from my teen-age years. Her name was Bonnie and she would be baptized if I shared the Joseph Smith story with her. Never in all my time teaching about Jesus Christ to the citizens of Spain, had I received such powerful inspiration as to the direction and teaching of a particular person.

Within three weeks, I located where Bonnie lived and she grabbed a hold of the church’s teachings quickly and without hesitation. She attended church, young single adult dances, firesides, and various activities. She was excited about her faith.

The spirit throughout the Gospel discussions was stronger than I had ever felt. Bonnie soon became a member of my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints. After her baptism, we celebrated by visiting some local sites of beauty and just enjoyed the evening talking about our blessings.
The night grew late and it came time to take her home. On the drive home, Bonnie had curled up on the seat next to me and drifted off to sleep. This had been her big day. I humbled myself by whispering a quiet prayer, thanking my Savior for his infinite wisdom and granting me the opportunity of this blessing. I had been guided to Bonnie. He kept alive in me the spirit of missionary work a bit longer.

As I pulled my pick-up truck to a stop, Bonnie began to awake. In her eyes there was gratitude and before I had a chance to open her door, she turned toward me and asked,

“You don’t remember me, do you Blair”? I knew I held a puzzled look to my face.

“You know", she said, "the girl by the cherry tree…”


  1. Wow, that is such an inspiring story and your brother is a good writer...must run in the family !!!

  2. I love those kind of experiences! So awesome. And you are right, it could easily be a book.


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