Bonsai enthusiast bids farewell


By TARMO HANNULA

My long-time friend Don White has died. If the name escapes you, he was the friendly man whose photo I ran in the R-P each year for the past 10-plus years tending his vast collection of bonsai trees in the back yard of his Carmel Street home. The photos were designed to draw attention to the Watsonville Bonsai Club’s annual show.

Gentle in spirit, always gracious and friendly, Don and I developed a curious and fulfilling relationship over the years.

“Well, here we are again,” I’d offer as Don welcomed me into his home and showed me out to his back yard. “You know the routine, Don, so let’s get this done right.”

Don had a passion for bonsai trees that really impressed me. Somehow he got pulled into the lure of the beauty of those little trees and working on them became a form of meditation for him. Don would say that working on his bonsais, among other things, allowed him to drift off in thought and hang up his daily worries for a spell.

He had a sea of patience without a bottom and I think you’d have to in dealing with a tiny tree that takes years and years to develop.

Don volunteered endless hours, not only at the bonsai club events, but also at the bonsai exhibit at the annual County Fair. You could easily spot him there educating someone, regardless of their age, about the world of bonsais.

Don, you’ll be missed and I hope someone will step in for you for the annual photo I take to let people know about the upcoming bonsai show. Thanks for your courtesy and openness; you were always straight ahead with me and I learned a lot from you. So thank you.

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