I can't say I told you so, because I wasn't the one who said it. It was my friend, Village Voice Media video game columnist Luke O'Brien, who told me Eva Alejandro-Pena would soon be chopping down her tree and putting it on eBay. "Give it a week," he said.
Turns out O'Brien, who happens to be Catholic, was wrong. It took Pena two months to sell her tree. The tree, as we reported in a December 29 cover story, had an image that resembled the Virgin Mary in its bark, and that made people from all over the world--places like Korea and Guatemala--trek to Pena's Oak Cliff yard to pay homage to the tree, light some candles at its base and drape it with plastic flowers and rosary beads. What none of them realized, until we reported it, is that Pena's daughters had created the image by picking at the bark.
When I asked Pena if she would ever sell the tree, she said no. It was too sacred. Now she's offloading it through an Addison-based company called iSold It, which is helping her sell it on eBay through a seven-day auction. According to a press release from iSold It, "The auction's starting bid of $5,000 represents the estimated cost to restore the family's yard from the wear and tear of the thousands of visits it has received."
The press release goes on to say that the family plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, the family's church and to “help another needy family realize the dream of owning their own home." Just how big of "a portion" do they think they're going to have left over after they fix their yard? The grilled cheese sandwich with Mary on it only fetched $10,000. --Jesse Hyde
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