Saturday, February 24, 2018

#The Old Oak Tree by Sarah J. McNeal

Our House and the Tree

Like my father, I love trees, especially those ancient oak trees that have lived a century or more and have stories they could tell. I bought my house because it had a deck and a huge white oak tree to shade it. I called it Grandfather Tree because it provided a home for all kinds of wild things. It seemed so wise because it have lived a long time and knew stuff.
Pop under the tree

Pop loved trees, too. The old house where I was raised stood in the middle of a bunch of very old elms and oak trees. His favorite tree was a huge oak tree in the middle of the front yard. Everybody in the family ended up having their picture taken standing under that old tree at some point in their lives.
Mom under the tree

One of the oak tree’s limbs stretched out over the roof and was maybe only a foot or two above it. When my maternal grandfather came from Buffalo to visit one summer, he noticed that tree limb hovering over the house and told Pop he ought to cut that limb before it fell on the house. Pop, of course, wasn’t about to cut that limb. He said, “That’s the owl limb. I can’t cut that limb and take away their favorite place.” I should mention here that Mom loved owls. They were her favorite animals. So, anyway, the limb stayed for many years. All was well because Mom had her owls and Pop had his tree and the limb that hung over the roof.
My nephew, Matthew under the tree

Many years later Mom died and six years after that Pop died unexpectedly while he was on vacation at the beach in Wilmington. It’s an odd thing though that right after Pop’s funeral, the owl limb fell. A year or so later, my oldest sister, who had inherited the house, sold it. One of the first things the new family did was to cut down that big oak where we had all had our pictures taken.

The old house is on the other side of town from where I live. I rarely have reason to go to that side of town anymore. I don’t go by to see the old house because everything I loved about it is gone. Strangers live there now.  
Me under the tree

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