Monday, April 18, 2011

Mulberry Tree

It sat sentry over the house and barn. With glossy leaves and thick limbs, the tree was the hub of activity.

I don't know that I've ever seen another mulberry tree other than that one that stood in the yard across from my bedroom window. The tree had been a part of my life longer than my sisters had been at home with me. It's shade filled the circle of yard surrounded by driveway. I mowed that part of the yard, so I knew the tree well.

The tree watched over a young family. A sandbox beneath, a swing hanging down from a branch, a board for the seat notched by Dad. We played beneath the branches in the summer.

Farm hands rested in the shade as Mom cooked the noon meal. It was a place to cool off the sweat gathered by their work in the field. Sometimes the lawn was covered with straw from the bales unloaded from the flatbed wagon onto the elevator taking them to the loft.

I played with my fiends beneath the tree from the time I was in diapers to a young girl going to the 8th grade dance.

The car was always parked beneath the tree in the summer. The old Packard was an oven with heavy fabric interior. So it sat in the shade of the old mulberry tree.

My horse was new to me and the farm. I was going to ride her down the lane to the road. The neighbor boy spooked the horse. She reared and ran toward the barn via the mulberry tree.

"Pam!" Dad yelled. "Duck!"

The big limb brushed my back as we passed beneath it. Had I been sitting I might have been killed.

I'm not sure how long after that incident that the tree came down. The tree was old and when the wind blew, limbs sometimes came down. But one day the decision was made.

We missed that old tree after it was gone. The sentry had seen the Loxley girls raised through their childhood. It had cooled an old car and given refreshing shade to the children and farm hands that sat beneath its glossy leaves.

Everyone should have an old mulberry tree in their memories.

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