Those that travel I-35 between the Iowa border and the Twin Cities at night will be treated to an early gift this year, or maybe it is more of a symbol of hope. Jerry's tree, located on the Westside of I-35 between Medford and Faribault, was lit this morning as I drove to Owatonna and I couldn't help but smile knowing that something normal is happening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the summer months, a person might not look twice at the tree along I-35. But once the temperature begins to drop and high school football is wrapping up, the non-descript tree makes a transformation that creates several ooh's and ahh's for those driving by.

Image Credit: Google Maps
Image Credit: Google Maps

I'm not sure if the tree's owner, Jerry Lageson, has added onto his some 45,000 white lights, it's possible as it seems to be shining a little brighter, but he was outside tonight, as I drove by, out on a lift adjusting the lights that envelop and surround the tree, like a warm hug from a loved one. Remember those?

Jerry told KARE-11 in 2018 that each year he gets "cards, letters and cash donations from his mailbox. The senders thank Jerry as they write of the warm feelings evoked by his tree," in the mail from those who enjoy seeing his gift to those who roll along I-35.

Personally, I just appreciate the effort put forth this year by Jerry, a year in which we are still awaiting the results from the Presidential election, a deadly virus has seemingly slowed and stopped the world once, and in some cases twice (Europe), we saw professional sports played in a bubble, and children learn through laptops.

The next time you cruise by, give a quick honk to Jerry's tree, especially if you see Jerry out tending to it, or let that other vehicle merge in, tis the season, a little earlier than some would like, let's show each other a little kindness this year.

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