When I was a kid, my family moved to a new area of a growing city. In fact, the new development was only a few years old. It was on the eastern edge of the community and was a cornfield only a few years earlier.
There were new houses, new sidewalks, and even a new elementary school just a few blocks away. But there were hardly any trees to speak of, just a few young trees scattered around the neighborhood. We did not have a lot of money back then so my father was working two jobs. He was in the Air National Guard and selling real estate on the side.
I will never forget the day my Grandpa came over to our house. In the back of his pickup was a tree with a big burlap ball on the end. My mother was so excited. I can still remember my Grandpa dragging the tree to the backyard, digging the hole, and planting it. After some hard work, and growing anticipation, my mother’s pin oak tree was planted.
Since that day, the pin oak has been my favorite tree. The tree that Grandpa planted that warm, spring day grew tall, straight, and strong for many years. It provided lots of shade to our house and yard, and lots of beauty for our family and neighbors.
My younger brother and I spent endless hours over the years picking up acorns and watching squirrels search and find their delightful treasure. Occasionally, when my mother wasn’t looking, we would throw the acorns at each other. Reflecting on those days brings a smile to my face and a sense of joy to my heart.
In the years following that memorable tree planting day, I have continued to look for pin oak trees, whether in my travels around the country or during my time living in other states. The tree is easy to recognize from a distance with its symmetrical form. It has a pyramid shape with many branches extending from the main trunk. I enjoy its beauty, shape, and height.
Recently, I drove by the house that I grew up in. I stopped out front and could see the top of the old pin oak in the back yard. It was still there, green, strong, and tall as ever. I lingered there a few minutes, reflecting back on all the good times I had experienced in the shade of that good old pin oak Tree.