Please pity the forsaken ficus.
It’s just too big, they say. Too unwieldy to be loved.
But that can’t be true. Can it?
Nikki Eckenrode, of Re-Source York, hopes not.
And she’s nurturing that hope.
For the uninitiated – those still as green as the ficus tree’s freshly fallen leaves – the story began a month ago, when workers for the North York Borough business traveled to an affluent area of Spring Garden Township, to pick up some spare lumber.
They came back with a 7-foot-tall ficus tree.
To make a long story short, the couple in question got the then-tiny tree years ago as a wedding present. They brought it to York County when they moved.
But when Janis Jesse and her husband moved again in February, there was just no room on the U-Haul.
Tears were shed. And the ficus was left behind.
Still, it seemed like simple fix, Eckenrode said.
Re-Source York began a contest of sorts, seeking love stories worthy of the ficus, and planning to relocate the tree to an eventual winner. Eckenrode said they received about 10 letters.
A winner was chosen, then contacted, and then came to the store, only to soon issue a quiet, eyes-down apology.
It’s too big. It won’t fit. Sorry.
So Re-Source York folks tried again.
And again the ficus was forsaken.
“We’re having a heck of a time with it,” Eckenrode said.
So that’s where we are.
Eckenrode said the business is getting in touch with another entrant this week, and hoping this time the tree can finally find a York County home. If not, the options narrow.
There was a Facebook message from a church near Pittsburgh, Eckenrode said, folks looking to put the ficus in the church vestibule. That sounds pretty good, she said. But the idea was really to keep the tree local.
And Eckenrode, well, she’s never been much of a Steelers fan.
But such luxuries are slowly evaporating.
Right now, the ficus remains inside Re-Source York’s Ninth Street warehouse, and it’s hanging in there, Eckenrode said. It gets some indirect sun, and employees don’t mind watering it.
“We’re taking care of it as best we can,” she said.
But something’s got to give.
Maybe a York County resident’s football alliances, for starters.
Or maybe sentimentality. It’s still just a tree, you know.
Yet for all the fallen leaves on concrete, and the sunny spring days denied, and the apparent apathy, the tree remains a source hope, Eckenrode said. The ficus is still healthy, and officials continue to search.
Could there be redemption, at the end of this long road? Well, maybe, she said.
At least, no one’s been stumped just yet.