By the old house – the house that we call “Granny’s House” – even though my parents also lived there after Granny passed away, stood an old Water Oak Tree. Several years ago, on a very stormy and windy night lightning struck the old tree and several of the huge limbs fell across our driveway.
Joey Robinson, sweet neighbor that he was, came with his chain saw in the middle of the raging storm and cut the big limbs, and daughter Gale and I helped get the driveway cleared. Normally, the branches could have stayed until daylight but husband Bob had recently been diagnosed with cancer and we never knew if, or when, we’d be making a trip to the ER.
Later, Bob wanted to cut the rest of the tree down, but I begged (on behalf of the tree) to “let’s see if it will continue living.” And continue living, it did!
We all know that everything is “in God’s time”….and I think God must have decided that the old Water Oak had lived long enough.
During a recent storm, I’m not sure if lightning struck again or if the heavy winds took their toll, but most of the rest of the old tree fell. Once again, it was across the driveway. This time, there was no saving what was left. My son-in-law, Dan, cleared the driveway and cut down most of the remainder of the old tree.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there to say goodbye, to a memory. Once, when the Southern Pine “Today” newspaper published instructions on how to measure a tree to find the age – granddaughter Olivia and I went through the steps. The old tree was at least 110 years old. I knew it HAD to be old – I’m over ¾ of a century and it had been standing there for as long as I could remember.
If the old tree could have talked, the stories I’m sure it would have told! Many children – grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews and friends had played under that old tree. We dug in the dirt with spoons and made pies in dishes (that Granny let us have). We used it as a hiding place while cousins searched for us. We sat under it in the heat of summer.
Mistletoe grew in the top of the old tree and squirrels chased up and down the trunk .into the holes they had begun to call home. The acorns that fell from the limbs were tiny but plentiful and covered the ground, like fine carpet, that crunched under one’s feet.
It was more than just a tree – it was a part of my childhood and of my adult memories and when I sit, on my Front Porch, I’ll miss that old tree with its big roots. I’ll miss the sight of the mistletoe, in the winter. It was the only tree, in my yard, with that parasite.
I’ll remember, so many years ago, little cousins digging in the dirt under that old tree. I’ll remember that cousins shared secrets, under the old tree. I’ll remember that pictures were taken under the old tree. I’ll remember that the old tree with it’s branches and leaves shaded so many family members over the years. I’ll wonder how many stories it had stored in its limbs and branches.
It was more than just a tree.....and I'm sorry I never took a photograph of the tree that was a part of my family history.