Skip to main content

Talking About My Hero: Mr. Oak

Kenneth, born and raised in the South, resides in Hamilton, Alabama. He enjoys sharing his unique perspectives on life through his writing.

For as Many Introductions

to some story somewhere about someone or some thing, there is yet one more story that bears reading. I make no bones about this one. Sure, I'd love for you and everyone to read and enjoy this hub about someone that I used to know many years ago and even today I find myself seeking retribution to this living soul whom I hung out a lot with, but did something very cold: I took my old friend for granted. And unless you have ever felt that way, you have no way of understanding what I am talking about.

At the edge of our yard stood (what I thought) was the biggest, scariest, and most fearsome living thing that my seven-year-old eyes had ever seen. I quivered each morning as I sat down on its massive roots that extended a long way out to the yard, I always thought, to give me somewhere to wait for the school bus. I never got around finding out for sure.


Old trees make the best friends.

Old trees make the best friends.

In Order for us

to really understand what it's like to be an old Oak tree, I would have to get inside this massive tree and live through its limbs, sap, and roots and in a few days, I would come away looking at my Old Friend, The Oak, with a new viewpoint. I just know it.

When I would spend time with the Old Oak, I did most of the talking. Oh, the Oak was a perfect listener alright. But I did hope and pray that for once, he would speak to me about some school problem that I couldn't solve or maybe give me a tid bit of priceless advice about girls, but the Old Fella never bothered to give me the time a day.

Oh, I found myself apologizing to this living soul more than once, but I never knew if the Oak and I were okay. I did feel that our friendship was okay because at just the right time, a big gust of summer wind would blow through "his" massive limbs and I would jump for joy. I guess that my folks thought that I needed professional help by me spending so much time with Mr. Oak while other kids were playing ball or riding bicycles, but I found my paradise and haven of peace with Mr. Oak and the huge roots that I had carved my initials in my "seat,"and as I carved, I would carefully ask, are you okay, Mr. Oak, and he wouldn't answer, so I just kept carving.


 Common Ash

Common Ash

The Years and Time

were good to Mr. Oak and his friends, the Elm Brothers and Mr. Birch who was always bending over with the summer breezes. I would bring my school books to Mr. Oak and do my studying with him on guard and many times, my mom gave me a sandwich to have for lunch. I offered one to Mr. Oak and he refused, but I did hear a faint giggle from him--a sure sign that I had said something that made him laugh.

In the time at this place where we share-cropped, I would tell Mr. Oak of my heartaches about some pretty girl who had took my eye and I told him all about her and what I should do about her. I imagined that Mr. Oak would have said for me to take things slowly--just as Mother Nature had helped him grow at a speed that was made just for him. I never was one to argue with Mr. Oak and Mother Nature.


This Part is Very Sad

and you can tell why. We had share-cropped our last and my dad had found a great job in another town working as a production machinist, so we had to pack up and take our furniture, clothing and such to another rental house. I was the last one to look over the house where we were leaving and I could hear the laughter, and some crying, and the talk from dad, mom, my sister and her husband and I would stand for a moment in each of the rooms because I wouldn't be passing this way again.

Then came the toughest thing to do: say my farewell's to Mr. Oak. This, my friends, was not easy. Mr. Oak saw me grow up a lot and in those years, he had advised me to the best of his ability and I would take the advice and I was there alone, sitting on the place which was my seat on the roots and I told Mr. Oak how much that I loved him and how much that I would miss him. Seemingly, I did hear him sobbing behind those thick clumps of leaves, so I just played along and told him that I would be seeing him.

I can tell you this: as I got in our truck to head to our new rental house, I started to not look back at our house and at Mr. Oak, but I did. And I give you my word that as I looked at Mr. Oak, I saw one of his highest limbs waving to and fro telling me goodbye and not to worry about anything--just live. Mr. Oak always said that to me.

I still miss Mr. Oak, and in all probability will for the rest of my life.

July 21, 2018_______________________________________

Old shade tree.

Old shade tree.

© 2018 Kenneth Avery

Related Articles