…We went back to Grammy’s house where I’d gone almost every summer as a kid. She could not be alive anymore, and I could not be 8 or 6 years old again. That was the deal.
My nephews were 8 and 6 years old tho. They went out to the big tree, the one in the front yard that had been growing there since the house was built in the 50’s. The one that made a lot of shade and successfully blocked the street traffic.
The boys each picked up a fallen stick from the ground. They got a good grip and started beating on the tree trunk.
“Take that!” they said.
They chipped a little bark off, but the strong tree broke the sticks in two. Then the kids picked up other sticks and those broke too.
“Don’t do that,” I said. “Don’t beat trees. We just had a funeral today.”
The kids were disappointed, but they stopped.
As we walked away I stumbled over one of the sticks. It made me think about picking it up, gripping it like a Louisville Slugger, and taking a huge homerun swing right at the old tree.
‘Crack!’ it would go.
‘Arrgh!’ I would go.
But I didn’t do that.
We kept walking away, and it was the last time any of us would ever see that tree.