When the apple tree died Mike put aside a weekend to dig it out and disposing of the remains. He spent the morning lopping off the dead branches, working his way around until he was left with just the trunk with its crown of sawn-off stumps.
"I remember your da planting that."
Mike's neighbour leaned over the waist-high fence. Mike took the opportunity to put the chainsaw down and stretched. "Did you, Mr Harbridge? I remember this tree from when I was little. No other apple tasted quite as good as Da's"
"Aye. I was no bigger than your lad when he planted it. Such a big hole he dug. He said it was for the compost. Whatever compost he used, he filled it with love."
"That's a lovely thing to say, Mr. Harbridge. Thanks." Mike stood back. the trunk was no taller than him and the single spine was a far cry from his childhood memory of the majestic apple tree. His grandfather had died when Mike was a boy and the house had been rented out ever since. "How should I get the trunk out, do you think?"
"Dig around the roots and pull it out with a rope." His neighbour looked at the wood but he was seeing the sapling from fifty years ago. "I'll give you a hand."
Neither was prepared for the curled up skeleton held by the roots, still clutching the locket Mike's da had given her on their wedding day.