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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


Jo Miller from Tennessee on August 14, 2018:

I love this story, Kenneth. I live surrounded by trees on our little plot of land here in Tennessee, and they provide us much joy so I understand your attraction to this oak. I hope you were able to return to visit.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on August 04, 2018:

Mr. Happy -- you, my anointed friend, are one Wizard of Writing whom I want to keep as a friend throughout this and the next life as well.

I mean it. And there are NO codes in this comment.

It reads as nice as it smells--like a summer shower on fresh-cut grass and you and I are sitting 'neat a huge oak tree (no pun) chillin' out. I with coffee and you with TANG.

Good stuff.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 29, 2018:

"It is the Giving that makes my inner-man feel great." - In Romanian (I'm Romanian if I did not mention, born and raised) we have a saying: "Dar din dar se face raiul" - "Gift by gift heaven is created".

If You give, the Universe will give back to You. Works for me anyway so, I keep giving, whatever I can and to whoever needs it. I have given my last toonie (we have these two dollar coins here in Canada, they're called "toonies" haha) to homeless people a few times and somehow I get more. I give thanks to Wakan Tanka.

Okay, I gotta fly out, I'm going to a Pow-wow just now, to a Mohawk Reserve: Six Nations of the Grand River. It;s the biggest in Canada.

Keep giving Amigo! And it doesn;t matter what You give: money, stories, teachings, memories, hugs, smiles, etc. I even wrote on this some years ago: "Give A Little" : )

Be well! May Wakan Tanka guide your path.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 28, 2018:

Mr. Happy -- I need to first say thank you for such a warm and moving comment. That takes me to this: I had much rather sit here with my coffee and read YOUR comments than labor to write hubs (other than this one) because the other renderings do have their place in the Linkage of Life, but it's the tree, soil, air and water-related pieces that get to me and I mean that in all sincerity.

Your comment should be nominated on HP for some type of "Hub Comment Award," and my friend, you would win hands-down.

Thank you is not enough, so I am expecting (any minute) to have a truckload of ready cash to give you (some) via a gift that you might enjoy--traveling; eating; driving; you name it. It is the Giving that makes my inner-man feel great.

Later and time now for me to vanish.

Peace and I will be around.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 28, 2018:

Okay see, if I hadn;t left a comment earlier, I would have forgotten to return. Like this, I had a notification about this hub, so I managed to make it back. I have terrible short term memory and I am sure the twenty plus years of smoking la-la, has nothing to do with that.

"are you okay, Mr. Oak, and he wouldn't answer, so I just kept carving" - Haha!! It's alright, a little carving never hurt anyone. Myself, I got suspended in highschool once for chasing another highschool kid down the street with a knife, telling him I was going to carve my name on his back. True story. Didn't end terribly well, I might add but everyone survived that experinced so, it's all good I suppose.

"I would bring my school books to Mr. Oak and do my studying with him on guard" - They do guard. Oaks are the Warriors of Trees. They have serious power. Go up to an Oak and hold your palms on it. Clear your mind while doing that and ask the Oak for some strength and energy. Leave it an offering. Stay a little and see what happens.

"I imagined that Mr. Oak would have said for me to take things slowly" - Could there be better advice? The Tree/Oak that lived a long time, has strong and deep roots. It has taken time to grow a firm base so, it will overcome many challanges. Like the Oak, we have to allow ourselves time to grow and learn before we can stand strong like an Oak.

You know, I have an Oak friend myself. I have not gone to visit in a long time, for humans but for Oaks, it's a blink: a few years means nothing. It stands in a park near my house, maybe a half hour walk, or a five minute drive and a five minute walk.

I appreciate Oaks greatly. I appreciate all Trees, or as I like to call them: Standing People. The people of the First Nations (or American Indians as You guys down South call them) call them Standing People. I find it a more apropriate term than Trees but to each their own, as long as we respect them.

Wonderful story, Mr Avery! By the way, did You know that the name Avery came from Old French into old English and it means something along the lines: "elf", or "elf ruler/elf coucil"? Pretty interesting in my opinion. I like Elves. They defend Forests. I like Dragons and Sorcerers/Sorcery even more but that's another story.

Thank You and have a fabulous time until again,

I (Andrei aka Mr. Happy aka White Wolf)

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 28, 2018:

Mr. Happy -- (in Hal's voice / a Space Oddssey) sure thing, Mr. Happy. I will be here monitoring the ebb and flow of this hub.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on July 28, 2018:

I'm saving this for later. Gotta run out. "I'll be back." (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terminator voice LOL)

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

whonunuwho -- sad is right, my friend. I wonder if Mr. Oak is still there or whatever happened to him.

Actually, I am afraid to find out.

Thanks, (seriously), for all of your comments.

Visit with me soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Kristen -- thank you so much. Amusing? I didn't think that this hub was being written as a comical piece, but again, thank you.

Visit with me soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Hi, Katharine -- I am so sorry to hear about the spreading locust tree and having to be taken down. Many people may think me insane to write or state that I think that Oaks and other living things, the spreading locust tree included, have feelings, but they do.

It just requires us to take time, free our minds of clutter and stress and listen.

I loved your comment. Visit with me soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Dreamer Meg -- what a good question. But I would reply by saying, I doubt it. Mr. Oak was THE most-patient "friend" that I had at that time in my life.

I am 64 right now and many times, I miss him.

Thank you for writing and write soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Mary -- sturdy is the word for Oaks. There is Black Oak; White Oak and Red Oak and all of each speces are sturdy and have long lives. No wonder Mr. Oak was so enduring.

God bless you, Mary and come back soon.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Three Keys -- I never thought of it that way--you talking about this piece being dedicated to Mr. Oak. 3K, you are a very Good friend to say this.

God bless you richly. and visit with me anytime.

Kenneth Avery (author) from Hamilton, Alabama on July 27, 2018:

Jodah -- it was very sad to leave Mr. Oak. I swore that I saw his humble face go from a light, friendly smile, to a death-like frown. I looked at him as long as I could stand it, and then when I looked forward, I didn't look back and you can believe this or not, but in the years to come and with all of the places that we lived, I did NOT have another friend like Mr. Oak. He was rare.

Thanks for the link and I will read it.

Come back anytime.

whonunuwho from United States on July 21, 2018:

Hey Kenneth. I can identify with your Oak. We had to have one cut down a few years back because the weather was pushing limbs onto my mom's roof. It was probably more than a hundred years old. A very sad time. Many blessings. whonu

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on July 21, 2018:

Although an interesting set of the story with the subtitle headings as first half of sentences, but this was an amusing story you shared. Thanks Kenneth.

Katharine L Sparrow from Massachusetts, USA on July 21, 2018:

Ken, I can really relate to this piece. When I was a child, there was a huge, spreading locust tree in our backyard. In summer I loved to spread a blanket on the grass in its shade and nap there. I didn't realize how I loved the tree until 1991 when hurricane Bob took it down. I actually cried when I arrived at my parents' home and saw it prone on the ground. I still think of it as a gentle friend and guardian of my childhood. Lovely article, I bet you'll find many readers who know just what you mean!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on July 21, 2018:

That's a great story and I wonder if those children who were always ball kicking ever had someone as patient and helpful to listen to them.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on July 21, 2018:

We have sevreral oaks around us and I like their sturdiness as they give me strength as well by just looking at them. They are majestic as they stand around the other trees.

threekeys on July 21, 2018:

I, too, just love love this story about Mr. Oak, Kenneth.

What a good listener was Mr. Oak. And, how sad when you left Mr. Oak to start a new phase of your life. But the wonderful thing was you gave Mr. Oak the opportunity to befriend a new Kenneth-to-be. What a wonderful paying-it-forward gift, Kenneth.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on July 21, 2018:

Oh, I love this Kenneth. I too believe we can become friends with trees and they can watch over us and protect us as children. I wrote a poem on a similar theme back in 2014 called My Friend the Oak. If you want to read it: https://letterpile.com/poetry/My-Friend-the-Oak

I am sure it was a sad time leaving Mr Oak.

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