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Lightning-struck tree leaves good memories for Valdez family

Tree falls near home in Marble Falls

During an April 9 storm, lightning struck a tree at Elena Valdez’s home in Marble Falls. Though she will miss the tree, Valdez is grateful for the more than four decades of memories her family shared under it. She plans to plant a new tree on the Johnson Street property. Staff photo by Jennifer Fierro

Even as she stood near the tree that had fallen uncomfortably close to her home, Marble Falls resident Elena Valdez was appreciative.

“I’m grateful that nothing happened to my house and my car,” she said. “It missed it by an inch.”

The tree at the Johnson Street home was struck by lightning at about 2:45 p.m. April 9 as a storm blew through the city.

Minutes earlier, Valdez was working in her yard when her youngest son, Albert, called to check on her.

That prompted her to go inside and fix something to eat.

“I was in the kitchen, and I saw the lightning hit in front of my eyes,” Valdez said. “It was terrible. It could have fallen this way.”

“This way” would have been on her house.

She recalled planting the tree with her three children when the family bought the property 46 years ago. It was the kids’ favorite climbing tree and shade for the home during the hot summers. The Valdez family often shared a hot meal and cold drinks under the tree with loved ones.

As Valdez stood with friends in her yard near the fallen tree, she had already decided to plant a new one.

Valdez thought of her husband, Gilbert, who died four years ago, and the memories they shared in their home and around the tree.

“I was thanking him for everything he left me,” Valdez said.

As a new tree grows, so, too, will new memories for her and her family.