Years have passed since I last thought about my childhood or the home in which I grew to be the man I am today. I had a very humble beginning, just a poor boy living and do chores around the family farm. We didn’t have a lot to say the least, but, we always had food on the table and roof over our heads. I would love to say that our hearts were filled with love, which would be far from the truth.
Our family farm wasn’t the largest of places we only had 8 acres of land. Which when it comes to farming is relatively small. It still kept us busy all the time and gave my brother, sister and I a great work ethic. To this day I am always making sure that I am busy all the time, so would say I am too busy, especially my wife. If you ask her my constant need to stay busy is what is killing our marriage and why we don’t have any children of our own.
Even with all the chores we had to do as children we still found time to foul around on occasion. Of course we had to make sure not to get caught, especially if there were unfinished chores. The one place on the farm we all liked to play was out in the woods on the outskirts of the fields where a stream ran through it.
There was one area that we were supposed to stay away from at all costs. We were always told that if we were to get caught we would receive a whipping from Papa’s belt. Of course we didn’t listen, that made it all the more fun.
That old oak tree was the most interesting thing to play on. It had to be hundreds of years old it was so big around. What made it more interesting was the old rusty chain that went part way around and through it, from where it grew over the links. Like all kids we had great imaginations as to what might have been tied up to that old chain. I was always hopping tit was a dinosaur or some other type of mystical animal. Of course we all had our own ideas.
As we all grew older that old oak tree started to have other significance to use. It was great for sitting under and with your girl on a warm summer’s night to listen to the nature and the bubbling stream nearby. Of course that chain was always a great conversation starter whenever anyone was at the tree. This of course help all three of us grow into adulthood. I remember spending may a nights with my current wife under that tree, in fact it is where I proposed to her.
It wasn’t until recently when my father died that we all finally learned the truth behind that old oak tree and its chain. When my father was growing up it was used as the old family whipping post, just like you read about in old novels about slavery. Really the only difference was that it wasn’t slaves that would get whipped there. It was used on my father and my grandfather before him and right on down the family line from there. After learning this we all had a different outlook on not only the tree, but, the family as well.
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