THE OLIVE TREE

Whenever the De Bortoli family decide it’s time for a family portrait, the backdrop is always the immense olive tree with the graceful spreading limbs that shade Emeri De Bortoli’s backyard.

The tree was once part of an olive grove growing behind the family home, where the recently married Emeri had moved with Deen in the late 1950s. She had plans to turn the land into a garden and singled out this particular tree whose shape appealed to her to be the future garden’s centerpiece. When her father-in-law Vittorio decided to prune all the olive trees into a standard shape that would make harvesting the olives easier, Emeri asked him to leave that one olive tree be. After brief consideration (and a trademark scratch of the head) Vittorio agreed and the olive tree has since grown and spread, much like the family that gather around it for photos.

It provides shade and olives for the cellar door, a good backdrop for family photos and a place for Emeri’s grandchildren to learn how to climb trees. It was a good save.