It might be strange to some that I have so many memories centered around trees. Then again, why should it surprise me for anyone to find me strange?
My earliest tree memory involved the giant oak at the end of our walkway in an old rent house we lived in on Cooks Road when I was 7-11 years old. My feelings had been hurt, or maybe I'd been scolded, but I packed the little tan overnight case and announced I was running away from home. Daddy looked over his newspaper and wished me luck. I marched out of the house and down that walkway sure they'd come running after me calling and begging me to stay. But they didn't. So I sat down in front of the oak on the side that faced the road and waited. Waited for what seemed like ages. The smells of supper wafted out the screened windows and after me. Still, no one came. Tears hot on my face and indignation raging in my soul, I meekly returned to the side door of the house as the crickets began to sing their song. There was no big to-do, no lecture, just, "Oh, you're home and in time for supper."
My next big tree memory came just a few years later. We had moved to 1122. I was outside and Daddy had recently came in from work. I was climbing in the chestnut tree in the back yard by the garage. I teased my daddy I could climb higher than anyone. He didn't seem impressed. So I mocked him a little. And soon he was climbing the tree in his work boots. He had to be close to 50 at the time. He went way beyond where I had gone. Mama joined us outside calling up and telling Daddy, "Clayon, you're gonna kill yourself." Suffice it to say, I never did manage to out climb my daddy.
Flash forward about fifteen years. It's me and your daddy living on 1122 now. I'm pregnant with Bubba and got a huge belly early. And the pecans are ripe in our three trees. I'm crawling around on the ground on my hands and knees to pick them up, as I just can't bear to bend over to do it. Those pecans were the fullest, sweetest pecans I ever ate and I was not about to let them go to waste.
Jump about 5 years down the road, and there is Bubba climbing every chance he had in the huge Buford Holly in front of the porch. Going high! Me wondering what it would cost to get a young arm set. Daddy, you met your match in your namesake.
About the same time, when we were gathered with the rest of Daddy's family at Paw Paw's house, they started talking about the huge old oak....biggest ever, that they used to go play around when they were kids. We all got up and went off into the baygall and soon enough they found it. It was massive! I have never seen such a thing before or since. We all took pictures out there around it. And they should still be around...somewhere!
Another six or eight years go by and we are living at Paw Paw's old place. Bug is a preschooler. If she goes missing, one of the first places to check, if the figs are ripe, is in, under or around the huge fig tree by the house, picking them and eating them as fast as she can. It becomes her climbing tree for fun. And her refuge to hide and sit and cry when her feelings are hurt.
I've enjoyed reminiscing about the important trees in my life...hope you have too. Cherish these memories and keep them.