I remember seeing the picture when I was a kid. It was one of those small black and white ones with the uneven edges. Posing in the picture was a woman, a man and 3 young girls all standing in front of a tree that looks to be about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. The faces of the woman and the girls look familiar as they are my grandmother, my mother and my aunts back when they were in their early teen years. My grandfather, also in the picture, died some time not too long after the picture was taken so I never got to know him.
This story though, is about the tree. It was a pecan tree. Fast forward many years… to a time when I was a young child visiting my grandmother in the spring and summer. We would sit other branches of this huge tree… taking in the refreshing breeze or shelling butter beans or shucking corn or snapping snap beans… whatever the task of the day was. As the summer ended and fall came and winter approached we would find ourselves out there in the yard again…. wandering around, looking among the fallen leaves and twigs for pecans. Some years there would be more than we would ever be able to use and other years there would barely be any… but still we would walk every inch of the yard looking.
My dad loved that tree. He always wanted to have a pecan tree at his house too, so one summer, he found 4 volunteer pecan trees that had sprung up in my grandmothers yard and brought them home. Unfortunately, I was a bit reckless with the lawn mower and so it was a real struggle for the trees to survive. As a matter of fact I believe I mowed all four of them down at one time or another. And I won’t even go into the “discussions” my father had with me about my lack of attention to what I was doing.
But even with my negligence, somehow a couple of the trees managed to survive. As time past, my father eventually had one of them removed. I had grown up and moved away by the time the remaining tree was producing pecans on a regular basis. I never had the chance to sit in the shade of that tree and shell beans or shuck corn but I did get the chance to walk around and look for fallen pecans with my dad before he past away. Every time I see a pecan tree…. it just takes me back…. and makes me smile.