Talking About My Hero: Mr. Oak
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.
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.
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_______________________________________
© 2018 Kenneth Avery